Four Fears that Undermine Good Parenting

Many of us, as parents, harbor some unfounded fears that, if left unchecked, can easily get in the way of our attempts to be good parents. Nice Parent, Mean Parent Have you ever noticed how often parents speak – even in jest – of being “nice” or “mean” to their children?  “My son wanted  to go to a friend’s house before finishing his homework.  I didn’t let him, and he missed the chance to see his friend.  I’m such a mean parent!”  “She knows she can get whatever she wants from her Dad.  … [Read more...]

How to Make Children Care about Learning

By Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D. It’s summer. It’s the time to take time off from learning! Why should I care about how to make my children care about learning? We learn what we do. Period. What does this mean? Question: When are we not doing something? Answer: We are never not doing something. We are always doing something. If this is true, then we are constantly learning. Every action is a source of learning. There is no such thing as a time for learning and a time off from learning. … [Read more...]

Don’t Dismiss Jeff Bliss

by Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D. I hope you’ve seen the viral video of the high school sophomore who, when his teacher dismissed him from class, launched into a tirade about the quality of the education he was receiving. If not, you can find it at Jeff Bliss is an 18-year old high school sophomore. He had quit school for a year. Having learned that he would go nowhere without a high school education, Bliss returned to school. The viral video clip occurred … [Read more...]

You Can Offer A Kid An Education, But You Can’t Make Him Care

by Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. This is a time honored adage, to be sure. For years, I’ve heard variants of it from secondary school teachers and college professors alike. You can make students come to class, but you can’t make them care about their learning. We offer incentives (grades) to students for completing their work and for doing their best work. I often wonder what would happen if we graded students on how much they … [Read more...]

What Would You Attempt to Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

By Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D. Several years ago, I bought my wife a silver bar bearing the question, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” It was meant to be an inspirational gift. Its message, of course, is quite clear: We tend to avoid challenging projects out of a fear of failure. Failing breeds shame, humiliation and other bad things. If we could only get rid of our fear of failure, who knows what we could accomplish? For several years, my wife kept the silver … [Read more...]