Friday, February 5, 2010

What do you do when your child appears to be "Lazy" and "Unmotivated"?

Sweet, Caring, Others-Centered......, Lazy, Unmotivated, disorganized. All of these statements sum up one of my children. Isn't it funny how our strength's can also be our weaknesses? I cannot tell you how many times I've worried about my oldest son over the years.

Sure, I could tell you all of his strength's. He is a strong people person, he can interact with anyone no matter how old or young. He loves others, he loves his lord, he cares deeply for complete strangers and he would give you the shirt off his back. However, what you wouldn't hear me talk about where the fears that had swirled around in my head for years.

From the time this child started schooling he is the one that I'd have to wake up again and again to get out of bed. He'd forget to do his math and wouldn't even realize it till I would check his work at the end of the day and ask him. If I didn't wake him up he was my child that sleep until one in the afternoon. I would begin to worry about him as an adult. I knew he'd have no problem getting hired, but who would want to keep him if he couldn't get himself out of bed?

Last May at convention I heard Linda Werner speak and she encouraged homeschooling families to have our ourselves and our children take this scientifically based test to tell us our top five strength's. WOW! It was so eye opening. Imagine my surprise as I went through my sons results and saw that his #1 strength is ADAPTABILITY!

Adaptability- "You live in the moment. You don't see the future as a fixed destination. Instead, you see it as a place that you create out of the choices that you make right now. And so you discover your future one choice at a time. This doesn't mean that you don't have plans. You probably do. But this theme of Adaptability does enable you to respond willingly to the demands of the moment even if they pull you away from your plans. Unlike some, you don't resent sudden requests or unforeseen detours. You expect them. You are at heart a very flexible person who can stay productive when the demands of the work are pulling you in many different directions at once." (Taken From Strength Finder 2.0)

Let me tell you what I have seen happen in my child's life that confirms the above statement and takes away the fears I carried for years when he was younger!

He got a job working for a family friend who owns their own business. The rule was that he had to get himself up, make his lunch, do his school and chores, have a good attitude with his brothers. That first day I set my alarm to get him up and there he sat at the table already working on his math with a cup of coffee. He looked up with a big smile and a "Good Morning". I'm embarrassed to say that I was afraid it was a fluke because everything was new, but in the six months he worked for our friends business I never once had to get him up, make his lunch or had to tell him to do his school work.

What I found was that those who have a strong "Adaptability" theme tend to rise the the occassion when they see the purpose of it. He struggled getting up to do school each day because mom said it was the right thing to do, but he didn't see how it would benefit him because he struggles to see down the road and only looks at the moment. All those times my husband would tell him he'd better get more serious about math if he wanted to get into a good college never motivated him because college was too far away. However, when we said he'd better do math or he wouldn't get to go to youth group, that seemed to do the trick!

However, because of his adaptability he needs to understand the purpose of what he's doing, where he's going and why he's doing it. He is no longer working as he completes his senior year and we've found a system that works for us with his school work alone.

He and I sit down with our coffee and calendars and we look at his week. I want to tell you we do this each week because that is my goal, but sometimes it just doesn't happen that often. I find those things that he most wants to do and I allow his academic goes to revolve around those activities. If he wants to go to youth group or to hang out with his friends on Friday night then he needs to have so many math lessons, so many language arts lessons, so much reading, etc..,

As he is preparing for technical school and things are about to really heat up I plan to let him set his own goals and we will put them in both our calendars so I can now walk alongside him for accountability and encouragement. However, I will be shifting all of the responsibility to his plate!

If you have a child that appears to be lazy or unmotivated you NEED to help them manage that by putting a system in place that gives them accountability. However, don't waste time worrying about 10 years from now! Our kids will amaze us when it's time for them to fly. We can't imagine or fathom it when they are young and muddled in immaturity, but I promise if you faithfully and lovingly continue to help you children rise to your standards they will know how to do that for themselves as adults!

How about you? Anyone here have a child you suspect has the strong theme of Adaptability?


  1. I realized that my 10 year old was doing the same thing. Would skip part of his lessons just because he did not feel like it and had other better things to do. A few weeks ago we put a new rule in place. ALL school has to be done by 5pm on Friday. I only schedule 4 days worth so that gives him 5 days to get 4 days of work done. If he needs help all he has to do is ask, it is his job to ask (I have reminded him of this deadline many times) Well the first week he did not get it done and was grounded on Sat and Sun from friends and had to finish his school work on Sat, and jump start the next week on Sun. So far one time being grounded (helped there was a birthday party he missed) and he has done GREAT ever since. We have found our motivation for our son.

  2. Thank you for this post. It just goes to show that if we work with each person's personality, the task becomes easier.

    I have tried to send you an email message, but Blogspot doesn't let me type in the message area. Please email me at justapixie (at) Thank you.

    Word Designer


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