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School absenteeism: how to motivate a child

The reasons for skipping classes can be different, for example, a conflict with classmates or a teacher, difficulties in mastering the program. In this article, I consider only one reason – unconsciousness.
For many years at school and in the social rehabilitation center for minors, I had to work with “difficult” teenagers who regularly skipped or did not attend school classes regularly. And at that time they walked, used drugs, stole, robbed, committed robbery.

Working with them, I was convinced that a large or significant part of the problem lies in the unconscious behavior of the guys.

Why should children learn?
This is the question I ask at the beginning, teaching the guys to predict the consequences of their actions. Steven Covey argued that one of the seven main skills of highly effective people is the ability to anticipate and plan the consequences of their actions. Highly effective people begin to act, clearly imagining the ultimate, distant goal of their efforts. Ineffective people usually do not think about the consequences.

Psychologist: Why do you think children go to school?

Child: To get an education, certificate.

P: And why do they need education, certificate?

R: To enter a technical school, college or university.

P: And why should they get a professional education in a technical school, college or university?

R: To get a good job.

P: Why do people need work?

R: To make money?

P: Why do we need money? Is it just paper?

R: To buy food and clothing.

P: And also to pay for housing. You, like all of us, need food, clothing and shelter. Right?

R: Yes, of course.

P: So why, after all, do children go to school?

R: To be able to buy food, clothes and pay for housing.

P: I agree. Education is work, work is money, money is food, clothing and housing. Education is needed to survive. Education is a matter of life and death, it is critical. Why don’t you go to school?

R: I don’t know. I did not think it was so important.

P: Nobody told you what I just told you now?

R: No.

P: You skip school, but you get food, clothes and housing. This is the omission of your parents. They not only did not explain to you how the world works, but also created artificial conditions in which you receive everything without giving anything back. This is not correct: this does not happen in ordinary life. Throughout the history of mankind and to this day, almost all adults every day from morning to evening with hard work earn money to survive. You will be coming of age soon. From now on, the state will cease to care about you: no free food, no clothes, no housing. Parents will also not be able to take care of you forever. But what interests me more is not the question of the future, but the question of the present.

Why are not you working?
P: Why aren’t you working?

R: I don’t know. I’m still small.
P: Little ?! You are 13 years old: this means that you are already an adult. Intellectually and physically, you are ripe. A hundred years ago, in our country, many 13-year-olds worked on an equal basis with adults. And today, in many countries, 13-year-olds go to work. In these countries and in Russia a hundred years ago, many children did not have the opportunity to attend school. Today you have such an opportunity. But if you don’t go to school, then you have to work. The only reason your parents should support a 13-year-old man is to get your education. If you do not receive education, then you must work. Then you must support yourself and bring benefits to the family. You have to help parents with money. So why don’t you work?

R: I don’t know.

P: Do you agree that the only reason 13-year-old children are not working in Russia today is because they attend school? Or do you have a different opinion on this?

R: I agree.

P: And what will you choose when you return home from our Center? Will you go to work or go to school and study well?

R: I’d rather go to school.

Someone died so you can study
To consolidate the information received by the child, I take a short excursion into history.

P: Have you ever heard of Bloody Sunday?

R: No.

P: On January 9, 1905, the workers of St. Petersburg wanted to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II with different economic and political requirements. Among these requirements was a request to introduce universal primary education in the empire at state expense. Then many children did not have the opportunity to attend school, respectively, did not even know how to read. But the workers failed to hand their letter to the emperor: the troops shot these people with firearms. Hundreds of people died that day, many were injured. Then the revolution began, then another, imperial power was overthrown and all the children in our country got the opportunity to study at school. Do you understand ?! People shed their blood, gave their lives so that children, including you, can learn. They understood that children needed education in order to survive, in order to, ultimately, buy food, clothing and housing.

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