Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Fear or Passion--How are You Motivating?

I continue to be challenged by the book I mentioned in yesterday's post, Stop Stealing Dreams, by Seth Godin.  Consider this mini-chapter:

The other side of fear is passion
There really are only two tools available to the educator. The easy one is fear. Fear is easy to awake, easy to maintain, but ultimately toxic. 

 The other tool is passion. A kid in love with dinosaurs or baseball or earth science is going to learn it on her own. She’s going to push hard for ever more information, and better still, master the thinking behind it. Passion can overcome fear—the fear of losing, of failing, of being ridiculed. 

 The problem is that individual passion is hard to scale—hard to fit into the industrial model. It’s not reliably ignited. It’s certainly harder to create for large masses of people. Sure, it’s easy to get a convention center filled with delegates to chant for a candidate, and easier still to engage the masses at Wembley Stadium, but the passion that fuels dreams and creates change must come from the individual, not from a demigod. 

 So I sought to apply this to my not-always-so-eager-to-learn 13 year old son Daniel.  And you know worked!

"So, what do you really like to do," I asked him.  "Football," he said.  Ok.  He is passionate right now about football.  How can we teach life and leadership skills through that, and substitute it for some school time.  He has 18 plays scrawled out on two wrinkled 8x11" sheets of paper.  "Why don't you take each play and write it out on a single sheet of paper?"  So instead of two sheets of paper, he now has 18 sheets of paper.  In the process of re-drawing the plays, I suspect he's learning them.

"I could color-code these," he offered.  "And you could organize them into running and passing plays."  "Maybe I could put contact paper on them, and bind them, and give to my coaches."  "Hey, you could also redo them on the computer, with perfect "Os" and "Xs", and a nice font.  They you could select all and reduce the drawing, and put the plays back on two sheets of paper, but in a much neater format.  We could even print them out in color if you'd want."  Yeah, and maybe I could make a smaller one and tape it to my wrist like Tim Tebow."  "You know, you could even make a bunch of these, and either give or sell them to the rest of your team."

Suddenly he will be learning plays, drawing, learning basic computer skills, interacting with coaches and teammates and learning a bit about followership and leadership along the way, maybe even making a buck or two...and he WANTS to do it.  I can deal with homeschooling if it is like this!

In other news...

Why didn't I know about this website before?  Charles, the ultimate math nerd, why didn't you send me it?  Check out Khan Academy for a TON of info on almost everything you might want to learn about, especially if you're in jr. hi or high school.

Please remember to check out Daniel's website at  Also the Cottrill's blog at

I just found out that our friend Casey Jones just passed away from a heart attack.  I was in candidate orientation with CAM Int'l with Casey back in 1990, we were both single and shared a room, played Space Invaders on his Compaq computer with the green monochrome screen.  A pray for your wife and family.

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