Your boy is bored. School’s not working for him. You’re concerned, but you’re not sure what to do. What you are sure of is that something’s got to change.
You long for the days when he was 5, when he would lose himself in play, building whatever was in his heart to create. Now, years later, he has lost interest in school. He doesn’t see the point. The harder you try to engage him the more he resists.
You long for the old days when a trip to the toy store could make his day.
What shut him down?
Something has turned the lights out in the eyes of your bright-eyed boy. You want answers, now.
Here is my answer, based on twenty years as an educator, learning designer, and life coach who was also a bored boy, like your son.
I believe your son has shut down because he has been institutionalized.
Schools mass-produce kids. Decisions are made for them, and life becomes an endless list of chores and responsibilities put on them by others. Without the opportunity to identify value for himself, to chart a course with meaning for him, your son will continue to check out and be unprepared to navigate in the 21st century.
Your son needs to resume building something of his own design so he can learn the one thing that can keep him engaged for life.
See what these kids built.
Here are some kids who built things of their own design.
These kids began to speak with confidence about things they care about. They discovered ways to assert themselves in the world.
They took themselves places that no one else could have ever prescribed for them. They become inventors in their own experience.
Imagine your bored boy wakes up. The light returns to his eyes. He is curious again.
Imagine your son, building something that interests him. Imagine he learns the one thing that can keep him engaged for life.
Why does it work?
Building something of his own design works because he is hungry for something that’s meaningful to him, and so there is a motivation that comes from within. He has a fire that’s burning, and so he begins to discover the ways in which he is capable. That starts a momentum, a snowball effect.
His waters are deep and the possibilities on things he cares about are very broad.
We each have a motivation to try to explore that space within ourselves. It is like visiting a city you really want to see. You want to see everything so you don’t sleep much, and you try to take advantage of the opportunity while you have it.
Your son will begin to make connections: I am capable. I can build. I already have tools.
Things begin to happen for him in the world. And he starts to learn the one thing that can keep him engaged for life.
What is the one thing?
The one thing that can keep your son engaged for life is Autonomy.
Autonomy is taking the wheel of your own life.
It is investing ourselves in the things that we value.
It is taking ownership of our own experience.
The fields of finance, positive psychology, and character education show us that when we take ownership, feel enabled, autonomous, we do best.
You have the chance to offer your son a safe nurturing space, while still at home, to develop his autonomy, his own sense of self. It is a wonderful opportunity for you both, and for your entire family.
By the way, autonomous parents are the happiest parents.
But what about accountability?
Adults often worry that young people will become irresponsible as they become more autonomous. The opposite is true.
When your son can determine his first priority and build his day around something he has an inclination towards, it is a different experience. He will be invested in something, and so now all of the other “have-to-do’s” are in a context because he will have this thing that his day is about. The other things are relative to this priority.
He will then have motivation, an autonomous motivation.
He will learn that part of being an owner is being responsible for the consequences of your choices. So, as key as learning to make choices is the ability to take responsibility. For successful people, the two go hand in hand.
Building something you value teaches autonomy.
I used to be a bored boy.
When I was 14, I had a narrow view of who I could be, and that view of success didn’t really honour myself in any way. I had subjected myself to some kind of mold or standard that had nothing to do with me.
I would have profited from someone working with me to see that I could build something I valued and to help me create a space in my life to do it, and celebrate it.
As a young man, I would have built something around story. I have always admired writers. I think that writing something is one of the finest achievements one can realize. It was around that age that I got discouraged from writing. A couple who knew Joseph Heller said writing is a hard path and that I wouldn’t want to do it as a career. Writing was a source of light for me, and that window got closed.
I became a bored boy who followed a path others set for me.
Now I coach bored boys to build autonomy so they can follow a path of their own design.
What is it about coaching that works?
Coaching works because it offers support to someone to improve. It is a tool for successful people to become more successful.
Athletes, even Olympians, use coaches to keep them focused and improving in particular areas.
When I coach your son out of boredom and into autonomy, his life will improve and you will breathe a sigh of relief. You will have done for him as a young man what you have done for him his entire life – found a way to show you love and support him.
Coaching is different than therapy. Therapy addresses problems.
Coaching is different than tutoring. Tutoring addresses academic gaps.
Coaching creates space to make active choices and then be guided and held accountable.
How I prepared for this.
Let me tell you how I have come to coach boys like yours.
Ten hours to change your son’s life.
If you could change your son’s life in ten hours of coaching, would you do it?
Here is my offer to you.
I have created a coaching package for your son and other young men like him. Here are the details:
Life Well Spent: Life Coaching for Teen-Aged Boys
Ten sessions: $1,000.
Intake session at no cost.
The ten-session coaching experience will develop your son’s performance characteristics like optimism, grit, and accountability.
- It will develop his commitment to his own excellence by building projects of his own design with my support as his mentor and performance coach.
- It will help him become a decision-maker.
- It will turn his interests into passions and deep engagement.
- He will be in a position to become a thriving adult.
Your bored boy will care again and learn to manage himself and his responsibilities by exploring his inclination to build.
And then what?
Once your son is engaged in his own life again, once he has experienced autonomy, he will become a part of the Builder Community of Formerly Bored Boys. As a member of that growing community, he will enjoy events and collaborative creating experiences.
He may want continued 1:1 coaching to continue to develop the practice of building and autonomy.
Other services you may find helpful include:
Parent Training in Autonomy. As I said earlier, autonomous parents are happier parents. I can train you to be an autonomous parent.
Alternative Ed Family Coaching. If you are exploring or entering the world of alternative education, I can help you navigate the paperwork, academic selection, accreditation, and culture.
Advocacy for students/families at school. Whether your son attends a traditional or alternative school, I am available to serve as a liaison and advocate for him with the school.
Sign up now and receive this gift.
When you sign up for the ten-session coaching package, I will place in your hands a new book I am very excited about you reading. It is NY Times best-selling author Paul Tough’s book called How Children Succeed.
Tough’s principles are consistent with my practice as a coach of teen-aged boys. You could say my work is an example of best practices of the results of his research.
I coach boys to succeed, to leave the boredom behind and engage with life again.
How do I know my son will be safe?
Your son is a boy, and though he may look and sound like an adult, he is vulnerable. You should indeed be concerned. Your inclination as a parent is not to trust, to look at the world and be afraid for your child.
I understand your feelings and I don’t take them personally.
Every precaution is taken to keep your son safe. These include:
- I am never alone with your boy.
- He will receive, if he doesn’t already have, a tracking app so you can see where he is at all times.
- When we visit locations to complete tasks, they will be in public places and you will be in charge of transportation to and from the session.
- You have complete access to us and to what we are doing.
- You will have access to an online portfolio outlining the work we are doing.
- I am an accredited educator and certified life coach.
- I have worked with students for twenty years without incident.
- Additionally, if you would like your son to be coached with another boy, we can arrange to do that.
Your son, bored no more.
He has grown past building towers with blocks, but your bored boy will always want to be a builder of something that matters to him, that grabs him and holds his interest.
A trip to the toy store will no longer make his day, but a click on this link, or a phone call to me, could make his life.
You are the one who can determine in this moment if your son will somehow survive his teen years or relish them as the time he learned to live Life Well Spent.
I want you to know that if you want to learn more about the value and workings of autonomy, you can host or attend a House Talk. Moms and sometimes Dads gather to talk with me about subjects related to their teen boys.
Please click here to let me know you are interested.
Life Well Spent: Coaching for Teen-Aged Boys.
Your chance to change your bored boy’s life in ten hours.