My daughter and I got chatting about health yesterday. I told her that it’s important to care for our health, but that it can be a problem when we are constantly worrying about our health. I asked her:
“Can you think of an example of what it might look like when a person focuses on caring for their health verses worrying about their health?”
I was surprised by her response.
Thoughtfully, she replied, “I think exercise could be an example. Like, if you take care of yourself, you love yourself and want to help your body by exercising. But if you are just worried all the time, you might keep exercising way too much and get sick.”
Profound words for a 9 year-old. We agreed that if our primary motivation for anything is love — love for ourselves, love for others — we’ll probably be just fine.
This kind of thinking is fundamental to quality of life. Exercise is a positive concept, but when approached with fear/worry vs. love/care, the results (and the impact on our overall health) can be dramatically different. The same goes for relationships, food choices, and yes, even learning.
Helping our students get to the root of what’s powering their motivation each day is important. It is a self-regulatory shift with boundless possibilities for them to see their own worth — that they deserve to have a good education and that they can take intentional steps to move themselves forward.
This approach, of course, especially thrives in classrooms where teachers, too, are permitted the kind of ownership that fosters love/care over fear/worry.
Back to the exercise, I think it’s interesting to note that it’s easier to approach it in a positive way when we make it less of a burden. Specifically for me, this happens by embedding it into our transportation by walking or biking to our destinations (most of which are within 2 miles). Riding a bicycle is exercise that does not feel like exercise (it feels like fun), so it’s a wonderful way to foster joy.
How might we help our students see learning as a more joyful experience rather than a burdensome duty? What are ways we might initiate this discussion with our students? How might we cultivate a healthy approach to personal learning? Why does ownership make a difference?
featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto