2008-04-20 11:02 PM

“Fix” Weaknesses or Leverage Strengths?

As it so often does the subject turned to kids. My colleague shared how he sat one of his sons down and ran him through the algorithm for multiplying a single digit number by a multiple of ten. This involved the father asking questions and having the son sit still “like stone” to extract answers. From other conversation I knew that the son was quite social and enjoyed video games. It then came up that the son was almost in pain sitting still and come up with the answers expected of him.

My first observation was that rather than focusing on the son’s strengths in relationships they were “overcoming his weakness” and causing quite a bit of trauma in the process. I suggested an alternate exercise. Introduce a new game with the question “Who would know how to answer this?” Then rather than answer the math question directly go inside your head and ask your “expert” the answer. (Had the son been more interested in machines and computers than people I would have had him imagine a calculator in his head and just punch in the numbers.)

This alternate exercise does a number of things such as focusing on the son’s relational strength, reframing the previously painful inquisition as a game, and allowing the son to access those resources in a way that can be generalized to the rest of life. When kids get in the habit of thinking “who do I know that can help with this” they are more likely to leverage real world relationships (once out of school and allowed — even encouraged — to do so!).

What “weakness” has you stuck today?
What strength can you leverage to make the “weakness” moot?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan 1 Comment »

One Comment on ““Fix” Weaknesses or Leverage Strengths?”

  1. Life, Love, & Learning - Don’t “Try” to Teach Says:

    […] “Fix” Weaknesses or Leverage Strengths? 2008-04-22 1:47 […]

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