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Archive for December, 2013

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The Trials of Jacob Mach

On the New York Times homepage today, there is a short documentary titled, “Trials of Jacob Mach”. It is a wonderful peice on a Sudanese Lost Boy who is now a man trying to make it into the Atlanta police force. This short film documents his trials in pursuit of this goal.
The reason I write about this documentary is that there is a scene in the film (AT ABOUT 9 minutes 50 seconds) where Jacob is testing to pass the shooting portion of the training. He is visibly nervous (shaking) during this scene and performing rather poorly. He is instructed by two drill sergeants. One approaches Jacob’s nervousness with a very harsh voice, sarcastic tone, and firm disposition. The other with a patient voice and an encouraging, supportive disposition.
As parents and practitioners, we are daily teachers to our children. We put them through a long and grueling “Grow Up Academy”: helping them with homework, teaching them life skills, athletic skills, social skills, etc.
Sometimes the difference between a successful learning sequence and an unsuccessful one is the way we communicate with them when they are anxious, vulnerable, and riddled with self-doubt – like Jacob in this scene.
I couldn’t help but think of what a wonderful example the female drill sergeant set in helping Jacob meet his target shooting goal. Please watch and think about how this might apply to you and your child.

http://www.nytimes.com/video/magazine/100000002567769/the-trials-of-jacob-mach.html

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