Can positive life lessons effect slow learners, positively?
I saw a friend post this meme on Facebook today, quoting Robert John Meehan, about how it shouldn’t matter how slowly a child learns, as long as we encourage them not to stop. I completely agree with that meme. I also believe, and know from personal experience, that positive life lessons , and experiences, can effect slow learners, positively. Why do I believe, and know this? I was considered a slow learner.
I was one of those kids. I was the youngest of three brothers and a sister, each of whom are highly intelligent, and dynamic in their own right. I mention each one of them in my song Granddad’s Branding Iron, on my Family Album CD.
They are each respected “go to” people in their professions. They were that kind of kid when we were growing up in Tarzana, California, too. But, being the youngest among these three older siblings, I could hardly get a word in edgewise, and if I could, I said it with a lisp. As a result, I was kind of shy, and when I got to school age, self-concious about my lisp, though before I started to attend school, no one in my family, neighborhood, or church family, ever made a big deal about it. I was just little Johnny Campbell, and as far as I could tell, everybody loved me. That was the sense I got from everyone I knew, living in the state of grace that every child should know.
Bob was a reader, who knew a lot about everything
Saying all that, I was nowhere near the reader that my oldest brother Bob was. The elders in the church would always ask the high school aged Robert Campbell about his opinion on what a bible verse was about, because they knew he could give them an intelligent, and well-considered answer, even at that young age. He could do so because he read, voraciously. There didn’t seem to be a topic of discussion that Bob couldn’t engage in intelligently about, because he had already read much about the subject.
Terry was dynamic, creative, and funny
I couldn’t hold a candle to my brother Terry’s sharp mind and creative skills, on display at an early age, when he wrote and directed the fifth grade play about Sir Francis Drake. His writing, speaking, sense of humor, acting, and directorial talents later served him well as a pastor, and more so as an athletic, and professional management, coach and teacher.
Sandee was the leader and the artist among us.
My sister Sandee was the representative of the Campbell family kids among the other kids in the neighborhood. She had that kind of respect, and relationship with the other kids in the neighborhood, who were also considered the unspoken leaders in the neighborhood. She was also extremely gifted athletically, especially in the pool, and artistically. I don’t know how she is in a swimming pool these days, but her sense of artistry, and leadership, in everything that she does, is always apparent.
As a kid, I didn’t do reading and math well. Not until it was important to me.
As for me, early on, I wasn’t a fast reader, or a good reader. Math, and I, were also not good friends, until I was around 9 years old, when my father bought some zip code booklets for us kids to sell for $2.00 a piece, that he would charge us $1.00 a piece for. I don’t know what he paid for them, but I was pretty good at selling them, and started to appreciate math much better, when I was making double my money by selling booklets for $2.00, that I only had to pay $1.00 for. It’s Aha! moments like that, that help kids slow at math to be much better at addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and even statistics, when you take into account how many businesses you have to speak to in order to make one sale. These were lessons I really appreciated, for the first time, when I was nine years old. All of a sudden, things started to click.
Music and Athletics were where I learned lessons that would benefit me later.
Up until that moment, the most effective ways for me to be engaged, and focused on what I needed to know, were through music, and physical education, where I excelled. Before I could read, I could memorize and perform many songs in front of the neighbors, in church, and at school. The memorization skills required to learn and perform music, by memory, have been vitally important to me in my professional life, both in the arts, and in business. Physically, I was a little athlete. I was fast and strong and agile for my age, and maintained that capacity throughout most of my life. The gifts and lessons taught through physical education are too numerous, and profound to list, but some include confidence, perseverance, teamwork, as well as self-reliance, setting goals, achieving those goals, and exceeding those goals. There are few endeavors in life that can teach those lessons of life as effectively as engagement in physical activity, and sports.
Allow positive life lessons at what a child is good at to have a positive effect on the rest of their education.
Fortunately, for me, I was blessed with strong musical and physical abilities early on, when it seemed that I wasn’t blessed with conventional academic talents. That’s important to understand for those persons with kids whose conventional academic success isn’t taking off as soon as one would hope for, or expect. Let them learn how they learn, and excel at what they excel at. In time, all of the separate pieces of their life’s learning experience will come together, as it did for me when I was 9 years old, selling zip code books, and making 100% on my investment in each book.
The positive life lessons learned from the success experienced by kids at things that they are good at, early on, will transfer to other areas of their education, in time. When? Who knows? But it will happen for that child when it makes sense for them, and they experience their own personal Aha! moment.