“Cleanliness is next to Godliness, Welcome to the Gates of Hell.” This was the sign Mitzi Weinman’s father placed on her bedroom door when she was a young teen. Can you relate?
Poll any audience on the top five aggravations of parents and keeping clothing, school and sports supplies organized will most assuredly make the list.
Why? Because parents never learned how to be inspiring educators.
Learning organizational skills often falls under the instructional umbrella of behavior rather than education. This sets up the cycle where – instead of parents acknowledging they may in fact be unskilled themselves – they feign competency and then punish children for “misbehaving” when performance doesn’t match expectations.
Modern brain research has revealed that which fires together, wires together. When negative thoughts and emotions accompany a task, stress hormones pour in and children’s mental and physical capacities decrease. Because these events happen simultaneously, they are more likely to repeat. In other words, parents might as well be teaching children how not to be organized when they lecture, discipline and punish.
Here’s the good news – Organization skills benefit from the same practices of every other skill:
Parents around the planet spend hundreds – even thousands – of dollars each year for sports and music coaches, but rarely contemplate investing in an organizational coach. How transforming might it be for a teen who struggles keeping track of homework to be coached by an organizational expert instead of being berated by his parents or sent to a therapist?
Who becomes an organizational expert? People like Mitzi Weinman. Why? Because they have compassion for those who find the learning curve challenging. They also know first-hand the value of instruction by a qualified coach and appreciate just how life-altering competency in critical life skills arenas – like organization – can be.
Editor’s Note: This blog is dedicated to the Parenting 2.0 humanitarians that volunteered to serve as Thought Leaders for the Organizational Panel at P20 Talks 2012: Mitzi Weinman, Dr. Shirin Sherkat, Deborah King, Sherlyn Pang Luedtke, Dr. Yvonne Sum and Roya Kravetz. P20 Talks made history by gathering professionals across multiple professional fields and continents to illuminate Life Skills as distinct foundational skill sets teachable by third party educators.