Fans of long-running reality show Survivor will be familiar with the term “dig deep.”

It’s what host Jeff Probst says to motivate contestants to tap into their inner strength to get through a physically-grueling challenge.

The last few weeks have been very challenging with T at home and school. We’re not sure if it’s the medication change, weather, full moon – or aliens – but it’s been a struggle.

T’s CYW recently shared that T told her that he finds school hard. It broke our hearts to hear him have these thoughts at such a young age.

But I’m also not surprised. Grade 1 is different from kindergarten. It’s less play based and more sit-at-your-desk and work environment.

This may seem trivial but for a kid like T, this is a big deal. I have no doubt he’s acting out partially because of feeling overwhelmed by the increased pressure and expectations.

I’ve said this before: T is smart and has great potential. We need to help him develop skills to manage his emotions and to adjust the environment to accommodate his learning needs.

I believe that every living thing – special needs or not – is motivated by something.

Part of channeling T’s motivation into something productive is figuring out what his preferred activities are.

For starters, we know T is a hands on learner and curious. Last week at school, they played with sewing machines and that was one of the better days he had. Look at that focus!

About two months ago, his teacher introduced extra homework. Every Friday, a blue duotang would be sent home with extra worksheets to help students keep up or catch up.

She made it very clear this is optional and not mandatory. But we love the extra work!

For me, what motivates me is to help T keep up his learning. We can’t replicate the school environment at home, so I don’t worry about the teacher’s goal to help him do his work independently in a busy classroom.

It’s an important goal for sure, but our focus at home is helping him keep up with the concepts.

This motivates me immensely, even though I’m aware that homework sometimes pushes kids like T over the edge.

We took a break from extra learning two weekends ago after a very challenging week.

I am well aware that one’s mental health – both child and parent – is important.

But we picked it up again this recent weekend and I tried to approach it from the perspective of finding that carrot stick to dangle in front of T.

T loves to play forts so I told him if he completed his assigned work for Saturday, I’ll build the biggest fort he’s ever seen yet.

Sure enough, we slowly but surely got through the work.

And check out this massive fort we made!

Here’s the entrance below, stepping into the foyer. To its immediate left is the living room and to the right is T’s bedroom.

And here’s the living room. His stuffed pets all look quite hungover from a night of partying.

Here’s the living room viewed from the backyard – with the staircase to the rooftop at the far back.

And here’s the rooftop with the hot tub. T and I hung out here for quite some time that morning.

On Sunday, we repeated the same ritual and I used Christmas shopping as the motivation to get him through the work.

Over the two mornings, T plowed through 10 pages of homework. There were resistance and whining but we got through it.

I wish T could always have this same focus, especially at school. But I will take the wins, big and small, where I can.

Some days, I feel like I’m digging my own grave in the moments when I feel so frustrated.

But moments like the past weekend remind me of what motivates us to dig deep: our little lovable pest, T.

13 thoughts on “Motivation

  1. Me again. Another great post! You and my son-in-law could make the most amazing forts! My six-year-old grandson loves the big fort that they make in the living room! And of course the survivor reference Which I may have mentioned to u. I don’t know but my family does a betting challenge and again my son-in-law made up the point system because he’s really good at that stuff. Anyway I won! And I didn’t even have to dig deep! V

    Sent from my iPhone Vickie Rubin VICKIE’S VIEWS BLOG


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Vickie. Fort building is such a simple but rewarding pleasure. 😊

      Yup, I totally remember the Survivor reference. It’s wonderful your family has that betting tradition.

      Are you all caught up with the latest season? 😊 I’m not gonna share my thoughts on the winner just in case you’re not caught up yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Every time I look at your blog my heart feels so happy. First of all, with T enjoying to learn how to use the sewing machine (what a excellent hands on skill) , then that EPIC pillow fort!! And the homework got finished – that’s a win 🙂


  3. Sounds like someone deserves an A+ in creativity. I continue to be impressed at your ability to problem solve and try different approaches to see what works. Fingers crossed students don’t go back to remote learning after the winter break due to this new variant and surge in cases. P.S I’ll be digging deep this weekend by getting caught up on Survivor with my mom and sister. We usually get together every Thursday to watch it, but we’re really behind so have a lot of catching up to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Linda! 😊 Let’s just say I am thrilled today is here. 😆 But I cried oceans of tears when I heard about remote learning. I am not mentally prepared for it and January is such a busy month at work too! 😭 But I’m gonna put it out of my mind for the next two weeks.

      I didn’t realize but I’m not surprised that you’re a Survivor fan. I’ve been a huge fan since Season 1. We’ll have to trade notes once you’re caught up on this seasons outcome!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good call on trying not to let the new public health measures ruin your time off and holidays. At least we’re not back in lockdown, although that may happen if case counts continue to increase. Yikes.

        And yes, looking forward to binge watching Survivor. Another show that I like to watch with my mom and sister is Tough as Nails.


  4. That is one amazing fort! You are amazing at finding not only T’s motivation but your own. Wow, I’m so inspired. And for the record, I’m sure you are right – this tough patch is because of aliens. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Ab, I need you to know that sharing your lived experiences motivates as well as inspires me. Reading about T’s journey and your family as a whole has taught me valuable lessons that have helped in my growth since connecting with you.

    Liked by 1 person

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