Much like walkers, teenagers can meander aimlessly, not in search of fresh flesh, but with their noses buried into an electronic devise and no destination in mind, unless they’re playing Pokemon Go. In addition they spend much of their free time hauled up in the dark cocoon of their room, staring into the blue glow of their computer monitor, but, unlike walkers who would be motivated by any loud noise, it takes more than that to get a teenager to leave their “cave” even when food is involved.
As a matter of fact, if their headphone wearing teens, like mine, they are even more insulated from noise, making the motivation factor an even bigger challenge. Not even the smell of food can lure them from the security of their virtual world. To be honest, I think walkers are more motivated than most teenagers, or at least my teenager.
Motivating my walker to do anything outside of what is absolutely necessary is a major challenge. Some days even that can be extremely frustrating.
Although, my Son was determined to get exempt from final exams this past school year, which meant getting straight A’s for final grades, which he did achieve. He had a goal and was motivated to follow through. I was glowing. I felt like we were actually turning a corner.
The problem was, once accomplished, he shut down. Some shut down over the Summer can be expected, but my Son was all about getting a Summer job so he could earn money for some games he preordered which are due out in November. I figured this alone would be enough of a catalyst.
Boy was I wrong.
He thought he had a Summer job all lined up at the Daycare he volunteers at, unfortunately when we approached them about it we were told they didn’t have the money in the budget. Of course, he could still volunteer. Why pay for labor when you can get it for free.
He is volunteering one day a week, but has decided he will not continue during the school year. Can’t blame him for that. He’s been helping out there for 4 years. He knows more than some of the people who were hired after he started volunteering. He should have been hired even if just one day a week.
SO, now he had to go back to square one and it was already June. Needless to say he dilly-dallied and till he even put one application in it was the middle of July. Who wants to hire you for a couple weeks?
The last thing I wanted was my already zoned out walker having too much free time on his hands over the Summer. I had previously told my Son there are plenty of things to do around the house that I could pay him, outside of his standard chores, but he wasn’t very receptive, so, I decided to create an application for a House Project Assistant. He seemed to like this and completed the application at which time we discussed the projects.
One of the biggest projects was shredding old documents. I have boxes of files to shred and just never seem to have the time. The position would pay $10 per box. Easy money, right? If he did all the boxes he would have almost all the money he needed. I thought for sure this time I had found the answer to motivate my walker.
The first Saturday after completing the application he came home from his second volunteer job at the library and went right to shredding, completing one box. I was thrilled. I figured the combination of convenience of work and desire for game related funds had done the trick to get my walker moving.
We are now in August and he has not done any more shredding. He did purge his clothing which was a project avoided by both of us for a while, so I was grateful he got that done.
With Band Camp the last two weeks of August and football/marching season starting August 26th, I highly doubt I’ll see much more work out of my House Project Assistant and I’m concerned that a Summer with very little structure and self-discipline will spell disaster come his Junior Year in High School, which we all know is the year that counts the most when it comes to college.
My Son swears it will not. I hope he is right.
It’s not like he hasn’t done anything all Summer though. Besides his 2 volunteer jobs, he also had to get college and career research done and auditioned for Jazz Band and Section Leader in Band, which entailed more practice and essay writing. In addition, he did a one-week video game design camp, which turned out to be a worthy investment for his future.
Yes, I can actually say something video game related was good in reference to my Son.
As I have mentioned in the past, my son is a big gamer, and although that is not my thing, I am well aware of its relevance in the entertainment world.
Video games were not even a thing of the future when I was kid, but now there are many making a lucrative living as game creators and coders. It is for this reason that I had to finally acknowledge that it was a valid career to pursue, which made my Son very happy.
We have already begun college visits and all of them have been to schools that offer game design as an arm of the computer science program. I find this all very exciting, but my Son seems far from exhilarated about any of it. I don’t know if it’s because the reality of moving into that phase of his life is frightening or if he just isn’t that enthusiastic.
It is for this reason that I’m concerned my very creative child who has been coming up with game ideas since he was 7 years old will end up being nothing more than a tester of someone else’s games because he’s just not that motivated. He’s got the talent and brain to be the next great game creator, but he just doesn’t seem to have the drive and I have no idea how to change that. When he’s playing he’s very enthusiastic, but when it comes to reviewing and comparing schools and what they offer he does as little as possible.
Knowing my Son, I suspect fear of being a “grown up,” so to speak, is at the root of his ambivalence. Since he showed promising signs of maturity during his Sophomore Year, I hope and pray by the time he gets through his Junior Year he will have risen to a new level in the maturity department.
If he does not, Community College may be his best option. I do not want to put out a large chunk of change for a big dog school if my Son isn’t going to do his part. Fortunately for him, the local Community College does offer Video Game Design/Programing so, it’s not like he’d be giving up on his dream, he’d just be taking the longer root to achieving it and hopefully “growing up” through the process.
So, although my Son may be “dragging his feet” in the drive to achieve department, he does still at his core have the goal to fulfill his dream of becoming a Video Game Designer/Programmer, and it is this fact that allows me to keep the faith that his enthusiasm and motivation level will shift into at least the “rabid walker” mode sometime through his Junior.
© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Walker, 2016. All rights reserved.
Photos courtesy of AMC
Paper Shredder – Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_brux’>brux / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Want Ad – Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_tashatuvango’>tashatuvango / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Gamer – Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_iconicbestiary’>iconicbestiary / 123RF Stock Photo</a>