Maybe you’ve reached a point where you consider your child/student (choose one or more):  unmotivated, lazy, spoiled, hyper, inept, bratty, inattentive, unmanageable, messy, distractible, beyond redemption.   Before you give up on your child, consider what the following parents and teachers felt about their own children and students:

“This fat, little fellow goes around in a state of intellectual coma.”  (Honore de Balzac’s teacher).

“You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching.  You will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.” (Charles Darwin’s father)

“He alternated between letting his mind travel to distant places and putting his body in perpetual motion in his seat.  The Reverend Eagle, finding him inattentive and unruly, swished his cane.   Alva, afraid and out of place, held up a few weeks, then ran away from the school.”  (Thomas Alva Edison)

“There are letters from relatives who thought it odd that young Woodrow was so dull…and expressed sorrow for the parents.” (Woodrow Wilson)”

“Beethoven never has learned anything and never will learn anything.  As a composer he is hopeless.” (Johann Georg Albrechtsberger – Ludwig van Beethoven’s teacher)

“The teacher pretended that algebra was a perfectly natural affair, to be taken for granted, whereas I didn’t even know what numbers were….Mathematics classes became sheer terror and torture to me.  I was so intimidated by my incomprehension that I did not dare to ask any questions.”  (Carl Gustav Jung)

“Proust wrote on and on and his teachers thought his compositions disorganized.”  (Marcel Proust)

“He told me that his teachers reported that . . . he was mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.”  (Hans Albert Einstein, on his father, Albert Einstein)

Oh, parent or teacher, remember in your exasperation that your child may be the one who finds a cure for AIDS, or discovers a solution to the problem of pollution, or who writes a great novel, or who saves somebody’s life someday.   Don’t give up on your children!

For more information about non-traditional learners, see my book Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Succeed in School and Life

This article was brought to you by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. and

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About the author

I’m the author of 20 books including my latest, a novel called Childless, which you can order from Amazon.

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