At Portfolio rather than asking children what they want to be when they grow up, we’ll be asking, “what problem do you want to solve right now?”
I’m happy to see we aren’t the only ones. In two recent articles in Psychology Today on the decline of college student motivation (here & here), Tim Elmore calls for a shift in the questions we ask students:
- From: What do you want to major in? To: What problem do you want to solve?
From: What do you want out of life? To: What is life asking of you?
From: How much money can you make? To: What do you have to give?
From: How can you achieve something great? To: How can you add value in a given context?
From: What do you possess inside? To: What are the needs or opportunities around you?
From: What will make you happy? To: What are you summoned to do?
Elmore also calls on educators to dive deeper into the core of what drives young people to take initiative, articulately outlining 6 levels of motivation:
- I get to do something.
- I get to do something interesting to me.
- I get to do something interesting, using my gifts.
- I get to do something interesting, using my gifts with people I enjoy.
- I get to do something interesting, using my gifts with people I enjoy, that solves a problem.
- I get to do something interesting, using my gifts with people I enjoy, that solves a problem regarding something that matters.
I am passionate about the education Portfolio offers for many reasons, among the most significant being our commitment to inviting students from the very youngest ages to do something interesting, solve an important problem, using their gifts and working with people they enjoy, solving problems that matter. . Rather than waiting until college, Portfolio students are invited from the very start to delve deeply within themselves, finding problems to solve, giving and adding value, responding to needs and opportunities around them, and experiencing what they are summoned to do. This experience not only prepares them for success, contribution, and fulfillment in the future; but engages them in being successful, making a contribution, and experiencing fulfillment and well-being right now.