For good students, there are grants, awards, recognition. That's great.
But what about the underachievers, the failures, the undecided?
What about youngsters who are a real challenge -
to their parents, to their teachers, to themselves?
All too often, their potential remains undiscovered and unused.
We decided to change this. It was the best idea we ever had.
This is not a minority issue:
Some adolescents do great in some subjects and "struggle to survive" in others ...
First: Where's the problem?
Of course, there are real learning disabilities. Like dyslexia and dyscalculia. You can't cure them by magic, but
there are excellent pedagogical strategies to tackle them. In some cases, it also makes sense to test for autism.
Not to forget, there is plain old laziness too: "I have to tell you, your child is not stupid but ..."
But more often than not we find:
The trouble is in the soul, not the brain.
Many adolescents feel like a fish out of water, they are just not compatible with the system. Perhaps only for a while,
when they're simply not in tune with themselves. That's why the big crash often happens when puberty hits hard.
So, private tuition, cramming and even punishments only fight the symptoms, not the cause.
The community is the tool!
We all know it: If this were just a phase, a little personal crisis, we could simply sit it out.
Legions of women and men who dropped out of school defy this view. They harbour lifelong regrets
for not having grasped the full extent of the consequences: "If only I had understood back then ...!"
This is a tremendous help to many young people:
An epiphany. Their personal Eureka! An eye-opener.
In other words: Better chances to understand themselves and their abilities. Chances to tally their talents and passions.
Chances to define their own goals, to find pleasure in learning and understanding, to get a kick out of an achievement.
Chances to find better role models and to think in new ways. Chances to go their own way with confidence.
Chances to encounter what resonates with their spirit.
This is a tremendous help to many parents:
Opportunities to create these chances for their children.
Without any red tape. Feasible and affordable. And in time.
Of course: Many do get their chances later in life and take them.
Others, however, particularly the more vulnerable, creative souls, can't.
Their self-esteem has dropped too low, the daily grind between job and family has worn them out, their
energy- and time budgets have shrunk too much to pursue a new challenge with vigour and stamina.
To find out early enough in life "Who can I be, who do I want to be?"
is a privilege. There are ways to help.
... which is exactly what the Eye-Opener Strategy does.
The Eye-Opener Grant, launched in 2010 as a project for underachievers, got the ball rolling.
It marked the beginning of our community's most successful agenda to this day:
The proactive use of the community's possibilities to let a young person go out and self-discover.
The Eye-Opener lets them create the right circumstances for it.
The entire concept is based on the work of Sir Ken Robinson.
Robinson was a visionary thinker, a trailblazer for a better future of education. His TED-talks are among the
most viewed and quoted, his books have been a tremendous support to millions of parents and teachers.
Sir Kens book "The Element - How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything" was published in 2009.
This talk from 2006 has a wonderful eye-opener story.
It has since been viewed over 70 million times on the TED channel, over 400 million times in total and is truly
worth your time (19 minutes). However, to get the gist, just proceed to 14.40 min and listen for three minutes.
The first step: "Get this kid out of the loser's corner!"
To have the chance to start anew, not as a loser and a disappointment, makes the world of a difference.
Parents acknowledging that their child is simply different, not better or worse, and needs to take a different
approach, that it is loved and accepted just the way it is, is the essential first step.
Every child is different. Every family is different.
Any preconceived procedure, any standardized strategy, is likely to fail.
The Eye-Opener Strategy is the invitation to use the Global Natives community's full potential.
It thrives with parental intuition, it draws on the tremendous curiosity you'll find in even the most bored looking teenager, waiting for its moment, it feeds on the diversity of ideas in lively family partnerships, its driving force is the empathy and life experience that comes from other mums and dads.
Every Eye-Opener is different.
The Eye-Opener Strategy needs the community with all its diversity.
It thrives in a society built on fair give-and-take, based on the same core values ("what we want").
That's how Eureka! moments can grow, and young talent can find the right arena to play in.
Before the penny can drop.
Dave Trott has one of the coolest minds in the advertising business. His blog is excellent reading material throughout, and an eye-opener in its own right. In this short post from 2011 he recounts his early failures in school and how our tendency for tunnel vision - focussed on problems, not options - keeps us from recognizing our own strengths. Please enjoy!
The key quote is this: "Because the good bits don’t need