A child's success in academics and life is often hard to predict. Some children seem to struggle at every turn, having learning challenges, difficulties with relationships, life situations that are just not easy, and yet despite all of these things, they end up as stable, successful adults. On the other hand, there are also those children who seemed to have everything in place from the time that they were born, who never seemed to reach their potential.
While there are many reasons why this occurs, psychologists tend to label the children who end up finding success despite all odds as being more resilient, and the children who don't as having less resilient. Though this term has its place, it ignores contributions that others have within the life of a child. Research has shown that often, even one protective factor, a strong mentor, a good teacher, a safe place to escape to, or even simply someone who supports them in their dream can make a difference.
This can be applied to a simple psychological theory developed by Abraham Maslow. He explained that people meet needs in a specific order, from the very basic to the very complex. Before someone is able to focus on building friendships, they must have their basic physical and safety needs met. Before someone can improve their self esteem, they must have some solid friendships, and before they can achieve their full potential, they must have strong relationships. As educators, parents, and mentors, it is our challenge to not only educate children, but to also build a relationship that is both professional and genuine. Taking the time to get to know a student, learn about their interests and goals, and to encourage them in their dreams may be enough to help a student reach their full potential!
Lisa works with families who are looking for educational solutions for their children. She has provided services to families in the DFW area for over 10 years.