Poll one hundred parents of school-age children and guarantee, management of time and resources will make the top five list for sources of aggravation. Why? Very few parents ever received formal education in the time management arena and they consequently make lousy educators.
Is that what parents tell you? No.
As a prior director for an academic tutoring club I can tell you first hand parents’ lists of reasons for their children’s low competency levels in time management more closely resemble the following:
“Ryan is a procrastinator. No matter how much lead time he is given, he always waits until the last minute.”
“Julia is a complete slob. Her room looks like a cyclone hit it. No wonder she can’t find anything.”
When a child is struggling with math we say “the math” is difficult. When a child is struggling with Life Skills such as time management or organizational skills we say “the child” is difficult. Notice the difference?
Instead of focusing on the skill, and respecting that low competency levels are a natural stage of every learning curve, we focus on the whole person and engage in name calling. Why?
It gets worse. When kids don’t do what parents tell them to do parents frequently feel justified punishing the child for bad behavior rather than improving the educational process. Good idea? No. The fact is when a negative emotion is associated with a particular task a child is less likely to perform well in the future – not more likely.
And, contrary to popular opinion, kids don’t automatically develop high competency time management skills simply because they grow three inches taller. Demands that individuals “grow up” and behave better once they become adults are again a poor substitute for quality education.
When I started my first real job in development for higher education a few decades back, I got lucky. My husband, who happened to be working in the pharmaceutical industry at the time, introduced me to Franklin Planners. The first step I was instructed to embrace involved abandoning my habit of writing on scrap paper and post it notes and committing solely to putting all information – yes everything – in my Franklin Planner. The second was to take fifteen minutes each evening to review my (often chaotic) notes file and list all the things I needed to do the next day according to priority: A for the critical items, B for important, and C for items that could be postponed to a following day.
Did I master this skill overnight? No. Like all skills, I improved with commitment, time, and practice. Thank goodness I didn’t have anyone scolding me or calling me names and punishing me while I was learning!
Popular while it is to cite “role modeling” as the high bar of education for Life Skills, the fact is that term is nothing more than a very costly self-fulfilling prophecy. As academics prove daily, children learn not merely what parents teach them but what society as a whole deems valuable.
Fast forward thirty years and I am in the offices of FranklinCovey in Salt Lake City recognizing their magnanimous contributions in the time management arena with The 2015 Global Presence Humanitarian Award. Why? Because quality education delivers quality results and when it comes to the arena of time management and productivity, FranklinCovey provides the high bar.
So this day we say Hugs and Bows FranklinCovey, humanity is forever the beneficiary for your courageous trail blazing!
Mama Marlaine, Founder, Parenting 2.0