The most valuable gift

August 16, 2017 in Health

Dr. Timothy Quinn,

Quinn Healthcare,

When asked to write this article on healthy tips for parents preparing to help their children get off to a good school year, I thought long and hard. I thought about healthy dietary suggestions. I thought about mentioning tips for good studying suggestions. I thought about a lot of advice on many different topics that could potentially help a parent as the reader of this publication.

I then asked myself, “what helped me most during my time as a student?” It then became apparent that my academic strength came when I realized that I could do better. Unfortunately for me, it did not happen until after I graduated high school, and was doing my training in the Army. Summed up, I was in San Antonio, Texas, and attempting to complete my training as an Army medical personnel soldier. After failing every test, and being told that I would be transferred to infantry to fight on the front line in the Middle East during Desert Storm War, I was told something I had never heard before by my commander. He told me that I “could.”

A couple of years ago, I ran into one of my teenage patients at a sporting event. I asked him about his plans for college. One of his football coaches was standing nearby and overheard our conversation. The coach jokingly told us that this kid was not smart enough for college. I motioned for the coach to stay as the student left with his friends. I shared my high school experience with the coach and explained how his language could be harmful to an aspiring college student. I explained that what he says as a coach and teacher could cripple a young person’s academic confidence and emotionally affect their ability to succeed.

We must be very careful to encourage our young scholars, and give them positive reinforcement as opposed to discouraging them. The coach said he was only joking and suggested that I lighten up. It was then that I shared my experience as a teenager. I was the one that was told by family and teachers that I would not achieve scholar status, that I was good in football. I remember being asked why I would go to college and not play football? My aunt told me that I should get a trade.

During that life-changing conversation with my commander, he told me that, “I was smart, and could do better.” He encouraged me to restart the program in an effort to score high on every test to serve my country as a medic. I remember like yesterday, returning to my barracks and studying nonstop the entire weekend. My army buddies could not believe that I was not going out on the town with them, as I had always done every weekend.

On the following Monday morning, I retook the first test, and scored a perfect score. As I received my grade, my commander gave me a smile that I will never forget. I did the same for all the tests to follow.

The following year I started college on academic probation, but graduated with honors and admission to medical school.

The most valuable asset you can provide your young scholar does not cost a dime. Give them confidence by feeding them positive reinforcement, and prepare to be amazed.