Learning Mentoring Technology

Motivation time – 22 project

28th December 2016

The last week flew by amidst Christmas lights, children’s laughter, Santa’s letters and presents. Our project, expectedly, had a little break. Finding ourselves at a quiet camping spot near Lake Eildon, Hunter and I explored ways to keep moving the project forward.

It was immediately clear to Hunter that he would need to start putting in some of his own time, without me helping him, if he were to make sufficient efforts to complete this project. However… what would be the motivation for him to do this?

To complete the project was not a strong enough motivation for him. He was also too young to appreciate the importance of honouring one’s commitments. We needed to find a way, as natural to his character as possible, to teach him this appreciation. Most importantly, he would need to enjoy working on the project, even on his own. 

Our fifteen minute chat turned into a three-hour father-and-son session, in which we explored his motivations and insecurities. I listened to Hunter talk about wanting to create this game, his reluctance to tackle some challenges he encountered in the project, and his growing-up aspirations.

It turned out to be a highly emotional session, one that was required even for a young child, as he sought to search in himself what was truly important to him, and what he would enjoy doing whilst not being concerned about how much effort it would take. What I was most pleased about was the fact that Hunter himself saw the project as an opportunity for him, similar to other challenges that he had been encountering, and that failing would be completely ok, but a failure without making sufficient efforts would mean a missed opportunity, no more, no less.

At the end of the session, he said to me: “I think I only have a certain number of opportunities in my life”. I quickly turned away to hide my swelling tears.

What I wanted to tell him then was: “These opportunities are not so much about you finding success or achieving anything in life; they are there for you to find happiness and peace within yourself.” But such a message would need to wait until a better time, in a more suitable context.

But I knew that after today, Hunter would try his best in this project, probably with enjoyment too. And that would be all a parent could ask for from a child.