This week, the topic of one of my devotions (from The Upper Room) was about hiking in the dark as a Boy Scout. The author talked about having to hike back to his car when a camper invariably left an important item. The troop used flashlights to find the path back to the parking lot. He made the point that having the right hiking and camping gear meant the difference between sleeping in a warm tent comfortably or being wet and cold and miserable.
This story made me think about the important gear we need to be comfortable in school too. So often we think our children have left home to go to school with all of the gear or tools they need and then to our surprise, they are still not successful academically. It is not only important to buy the “gear” necessary to be successful in school, it is equally important that we teach our children how to use the gear and tools properly and consistently.
We often say students have weak executive functioning skills when they are unorganized, unfocused, have trouble prioritizing or maintaining attention. We may have children who possess agenda books, pens, and highlighters, notebooks, and even iPads or electronic readers. These are the tools we all need to do well at school or at work, but we also need someone to show us how to use these tools successfully. A good teacher spends time teaching students the skills necessary to be a successful student such as note-taking, study skills, agenda books and test-taking skills. If we as parents can reinforce the teacher’s work at home, these skills are more likely to become habits for our children. The habit of using a calendar and taking notes is something I learned while in school and today both of those skills help me to stay organized and focused at work and at conferences.
What kinds of “gear” helps you stay organized? And, what habits have you learned which help you use the gear to stay focused, organized, and to prioritize your work? Which teacher or parent made a difference in your life by teaching you how to use this gear?