It’s one of those terms that gets thrown around and we sometimes wonder what people really mean when they use it.
“The Whole Child”
“A Whole Child Approach”
What does that mean?
Way back in the 1970’s, Jim Fay was encouraging parents and teachers to avoid getting too hung up just on grades and test scores. He was preaching character, strengths and contributions to the family or community as antidotes to all sorts of school and behavior problems.
Thanks to our founders, we have understood for a long time that when we focus on meeting kids’ wide array of needs (including emotional needs and needs for healthy outlets), we see wonderful results across the board.
There was a time when too few adults saw the connections between things like physical safety and academic performance. We now know that when a young person’s brain is focused on survival, less important things like academic performance will get thrown out for the time being. The brain will zero in on (unmet) survival needs. When we make sure needs are met – especially needs that enable people to feel safe, it will pay off in more ways than we might ever imagine.
The good news is that more and more schools are discovering the value of a whole-child approach. They are understanding that meeting physical, emotional and other needs can prevent poor academic performance, substance abuse and even violent behavior.
So, where do Love and Logic skills come in to play on a practical level? Many areas, but especially RELATIONSHIPS. Relationships heal. Healthy relationships can help us feel safe. And when our brains feel safe, they learn and perform thinking tasks better. The great news here is that when we focus on meeting needs and building relationships, we ARE improving academics as well! Taking a child’s overall health into account will always pay off.
Isn’t that just like life? When we remember to keep our eyes on the bigger picture, the smaller picture gets better. When we make choices with the long term in mind, the short term improves. Dr. Charles Fay is fond of saying, “Short term pain; long term gain.”
Perhaps if we are desperate to see academics improve RIGHT NOW. It may not seem like focusing on meeting needs, focusing on strengths or even getting kids to do chores are a worthwhile investment. But we know that investing in the bigger picture and the entire human being WILL pay off!
Instinctively, we know we want healthy WHOLE kids. Love and Logic strategies are guaranteed to help raise happier, more responsible healthier (whole) kids.
For more, check out Parenting for Success.