September 4, 2013

A Blank Slate

The start of the school year is a true tabula rasa (blank slate). No matter what has happened in previous school years, no matter how your child has spent her summer, the minute she steps into her new classroom(s) – and for some, her new school – it is an opportunity to begin from the ground up and build a strong foundation to an excellent school year.

One of the keys to this is starting out strong and going in prepared. Kip Tindell, Chairman and CEO of The Container Store (where no doubt some of you will be picking up supplies to help keep your child organized during the school year), has a number of principles that underlie the training of store employees and encompass the corporate philosophy of TCS. Chief among these is this quote:

Intuition does not come to an unprepared mind. You have to train before it happens.

Be preparedBut how does this relate to the onset of school? If your child begins his school year well prepared, essentially he is more likely to be able to have the intuition to be able to better anticipate his own needs as the year progresses. In other words, if he has all of his supplies on hand, has his work area at home organized and ready to go even before homework is assigned, has calendars and schedules ready and waiting for these assignments and is already anticipating how he is going to approach his work, then he is at the ready to succeed.

This preparedness can become a positive loop, a snowball effect of success. If your child feels confident and ready to tackle what lies ahead in school, she is more likely to be engaged and invested in her own learning. If she is more engaged and invested, she will have the wherewithal to confront challenges as they appear and will have the intuition and self-awareness to approach these as opportunities for growth rather than probable failures. As she sees the success of her own positive investment, she is more motivated to keep trying and trust her own instincts in relation to how to solve problems that may come her way. And, of course, this loops back to being inspired to keep trying and to have confidence in herself.

But it all begins with being prepared. There is no time like the present, so encourage your child to get everything ready to go before school even begins (or very soon after, for some of you who started school even before Labor Day). Last year’s Engaging Minds back-to-school blog highlighted Three Important Back to School Tips for Parents, and we urge you to revisit this piece on the first page of the blog section of our website. In the weeks to come, we will be building on some of the ideas found there and will be providing you with more tips for helping your child stay organized and focused in the classroom. In the meantime, have a wonderful start to school year 2013-2014