One of the reasons I love my work helping individuals and families with their executive functions is that I am often surprised and inspired by my client client’s responses to the prompts in their Seeing My Time Course Notes. Sometimes I just sit back in my chair and say, “Wow! What great thinking. What great self-awareness!”
At the beginning of the last unit in the workbook, I introduce the Third Truth of Time: the way you use your time equals your life. I ask the question: “How do you want to remember your life?”
In essence, I’m asking clients to pause and write a bit of their own eulogy. This question tends to be really challenging for adolescents unaccustomed to thinking much beyond the “now”. So when I recently asked a 6th grader this question, I was not surprised when he wrote down the word “fun.”
What made my eyes open wide however, was his second word: “hardworking.” This was followed by other impressive adjectives like “loving” and “forgiving.” I was so stunned I forgot to write them all down.
The reason I was so amazed is that I have never had anyone, adult or child, write down the word “hardworking.”
This young man (with ADHD) had internalized the whole concept of being on the E-train in life. He had been engaged and putting energy and effort into his sport, but now he was doing the same for his schoolwork. Seeing My Time had given him the tools to support himself to be more successful with doing his homework independently. He was thrilled, and his parents were delighted.
I’ve found myself thinking far beyond this student’s immediate present of doing his homework without complaining about it. This young man is obviously going places with his life because he isn’t afraid or resistant to the idea of working hard.
It’s a tough demanding world in school and beyond. Fostering a work ethic is a critical life skill. I encourage everyone to support young people in developing goal directed persistence, a vital executive function. Working hard leads to mastery and competency, the true foundations of self-esteem, self-confidence and success.
Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.
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