The Missing motivation gene

When my husband and I were growing up,  we both excelled in school because we took pride in our grades.  Our teenagers on the other hand, don’t seem to get as much enjoyment out of something as simple as getting an A in Math.  We are still working to find the magical motivating factor which will make them try just a bit harder to move from a B (and sometimes C) to an A.

The other thing that baffles us is that we’ve had to twist our son Westin’s arm to get his driver’s permit.  The only reason we pushed him to get his permit at age 17 was so we could go to Canada for a family get together.  He’ll be commuting to college this fall and will need to have his license. We wanted to be sure he had some winter driving time while we were still able to monitor his skills. My husband keeps envisioning himself driving Westin to Brockport every day because he doesn’t seem very motivated to actually get his license. My husband and I both had our license by the time we were 16.

permitMy son isn’t the only one who doesn’t see the need for a license.  Many of his friends who are seniors don’t have them either.  I guess kids these days can get together virtually so there’s no real need to see each other in person.  My niece Amanda, who’s also a senior, also seems put off by the whole driving thing.

Westin also doesn’t seem to be motivated by money.  If I offer to pay him some money to do some extra chores around the house he always declines.  He spends almost all his money on CDs and concert tickets so he has to stretch his allowance and gift money to be able to afford them. He knows that he’ll be required to get a job this summer to help fund his expenses while he’s going to college so I guess he’s enjoying his free time while he can.

Until recently he didn’t even show interest in getting a cell phone. He got one for Christmas but it won’t get opened until he really needs it.  The cellphone will give all of us piece of mind when he finally does get his license.

I realize kids are a product of both their environment and heredity, but I think my son is missing a motivation gene, so we’re doing what we can to encourage him to take some initiative with his life.


2 thoughts on “The Missing motivation gene

  1. My 17 yr old son is the same. I’ve continued to suggest but have not pushed for him to get a job or his drivers license. It’s very hard for me to let him see the challenges that his decisions make on him, but my patience seems to be paying off. As he applies for colleges he’s seen how his grades have affected his options. Had he just tried a little harder he would’ve gotten a chance at a full-ride some places and lots of money towards his education at others. This will likely impact his ability to go where he wants. His license will be the next challenge. We’ll see how motivated he is once he has to ride the bus to school and wait around all day for a ride or the bus.

    • Scott
      I figure I’ve saved some money by my son not driving yet (Geico is telling us it will only be an extra $300/year!) which is one of the reasons we haven’t been pushing him too hard to get his license. Good luck with your son. We can only hope we’ve given our children the capability to make smart decisions as they become more independent. Michele

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