When I got into this world of teaching executive functioning skills (way back before the term even existed), I thought I would spend my time helping bright 6th graders who were struggling with the transition into the complexities of middle school.
I began, as many still do, by directing students to use specific organizational tools. However, this wasn’t very effective.
Then I switched from directing to educating. My effectiveness soared when I stopped focusing only on the student and began educating the parents alongside the student.
This discovery marked the basis for what is now the Seeing My Time® course: teaching the WHY and HOW of executive functions before providing organizational tools.
I recently received a newsletter response from a woman who had completed our Teaching Seeing My Time® course over 10 years ago. Back then, her daughter was struggling in school on several levels. To make the situation more complex, the mom self-identified as having poor executive functioning.
After taking the course, this mother discovered tools and strategies to support her own daughter through high school (and many other children she supported as they completed 4-H projects for the county fair).
With mom’s key organizational support, the daughter earned a solid GPA that got her a scholarship in a neighboring state where she earned an AA degree.
When the daughter left for college, mom crossed her fingers, knowing that she could no longer be her daughter’s constant key support system. But her daughter came through with good grades which set the foundation for a transfer scholarship to another institution 3,000 miles from home. Mom proudly shared that her young woman is well on her way, completely independent in managing her schoolwork.
Then this wise mother acknowledged to me that the next job is to help her daughter to independently manage all of the financial aspects of life. Wow!
I am so impressed by this woman who is patiently raising an adult. Her story closed with this: ”I would not have been able to help her if I had not taken the executive function training. It is amazing as I am looking back, to realize how much having good executive function skills can change the trajectory of someone’s life!!! Thank you Marydee, for the positive impact you have had on our lives and continue to have, via your newsletters.”
Her story brought tears to my eyes. That, my friends, is why I am still working at almost 69.
Over time, that view of my target clients as middle schoolers and parents has certainly expanded. Now I work with people of many ages as they face the increasing executive functioning demands of life’s many transitions. My current adult clients are needing help with being retired, transitioning into new jobs, preparing to take significant exams tied to their future professional goals, managing new parenthood, and yes, even facing marriage in the coming year.
I am especially having fun with one young couple. They are eating up the knowledge from the course. This impressive young woman takes on and accomplishes so much, but she was chronically late for everything. At one moment, she looked at her fiance and said, “I was even late for our first date.”
To which he replied, “And all of the subsequent dates.”
At our last session, she very happily reported that she had figured out, through becoming a Time Scientist, that she hadn’t been allowing enough time to prepare her adult self to leave the house. She hadn’t been late to anything in over a week. Their participation in the Seeing My Time course is going to give their marriage a foundation that will eliminate so many relationship issues over their lifespan.
I am sharing these stories because it is never too late to improve your executive functioning. When you learn about your brain and time, you have the key to your future. You can set your own trajectory, your own course for a purposeful life.
If you or someone you know could use help to develop their executive functions, do check out the Executive Functioning Success website for courses and products. We are all about teaching, educating and developing independence. If you are a professional or educator, we have two professional courses: the Teaching Seeing My Time course, and Building Executive Function Skills in the Classoom. Both courses begin on June 13th. We’d love for you to join us!
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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