Are Expectations High Enough for Your Children?

One day a parent consulted with us prior to bringing her son for cognitive processing ability testing. She explained that her “other” son was very bright. Unlike Franklin, he read at five years old and entered the gifted class in second grade. He was a champion chess player and spoke with eloquence! “Am I wrong to compare Franklin to Jason? Franklin has difficulty following directions, doesn’t understand what he has read and hardly speaks! I work with him every day for hours and it just doesn’t seem to matter the next day. His father and I are thinking that we are expecting too much of him.”

“Are you serious? Jason better hold on to his hat! Franklin will build a better brain here! Not only that, but he will soon realize the strengths he possesses as a result of his learning challenges!”

Testing revealed that this student displayed characteristics commonly seen in a language processing disorder. Some teachers reported him displaying a low self-esteem. Yet, his parents stated that he had a great sense of humor! He could be a real “clown” some days at home. But, maybe school was not his forte. He achieved low scores in reading comprehension, had difficulty with punctuation, and reportedly displayed “learn forget syndrome.” For example, his mother studied with him four days to achieve an “A” on his weekly spelling test. Yet, he misspelled the same words two weeks later.

As always, the examiner stated, “Within every disability is a phenomenal ABILITY!” For example, his love of sports and tremendous ability he displays represents the typical “ABILITY” students may exhibit who are diagnosed with a language processing disorder. They are great dancers, ball players and swimmers! They seem to do well in math, too! To Franklin she stated, “Young man, I have a friend I want you to meet!”

That afternoon, she took him to an elderly man who does upholstery. He had several professional ball players’ pictures displayed on his walls. She said, “See all those professional ball players? Well, Charlie told every one of them that he just KNEW they would be!” Then she turned to Charlie and asked, “What do you see Franklin becoming one day?” He looked Franklin up and down and said, “Franklin? Whoa! Now that’s a name for a PRESIDENT! One day you are going to be a PRESIDENT!” Several days later, Franklin returned for sessions. He asked afterwards, “Do you think I could be a president some day?” Sure you could!

Today, he is president of two companies!

Expectations are tricky. You don’t want to set the bar too high, you may be disappointed; don’t want to set it too low, you may be right!

In 1964, a Harvard professor conducted a study in an elementary school near San Francisco. He wanted to find out what would happen if teachers were told that certain students in their classrooms were “destined to succeed.” After the students were administered a standardized IQ test (with a different cover that read “Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition”), several students were chosen randomly and identified as kids who were about to experience a dramatic growth in their IQ.

What he found over the next two years was that teacher expectations actually affected a student’s growth. The teachers gave those specific students a longer response time after asking them a question, more specific feedback, approving nods, and encouraging smiles. And guess what? Their IQs did increase! To see more of the story, you can visit NPR.

The best way to get our children working toward their goals is to hold them to the great expectations! Believe in them. Work with them. Stick with them. Stay strong!

Brainjogging is that tool that can make it easier to keep those expectations to higher level. The brain is working smarter, and as a parent you are giving your child the leg-up he/she needs to meet the challenge! Keep it up!

And remember, while others lower the bar so our kids can step over it, we RAISE the bar so our kids learn to SOAR!

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