Most of us have had the experience of dealing with children. Teachers experience a dilemma each academic year as a new group of students enters their classroom. Within the first few days, most teachers have probably identified the range of learning styles that students have to challenge that teacher during the remainder of the year.
The never ending question remains, “What can I do to get this child to focus? What will be his or her best motivator?” ANSWER: Yo-Yos!
Many students deal with any number of issues which affects their learning; learning disability, attention-deficit, problems at home, being an over-achiever, perfectionism, and low self-esteem. Others simply could use an effective outlet for creativity, energy release and fun.
Working in schools as often as I do, I have seen it all. I have also seen first-hand or heard after-the-fact, of the impact that yo-yos can have on kids; as a motivator, as a reward, as an esteem builder, and even so dramatic as a tool in their reaching a milestone that was hardly thought possible.
At one particular school, there was a gang of four students. The story goes that if you passed by the principal’s office at any given time on any given day, one or more of them would be seated there. Trouble was an understatement. Teachers were frustrated with their futile attempts to reach them.
Then, one day, the yo-yo man arrived. The arrangement was for him to spend a week at the school to teach yo-yoing in the physical education classes. By mid-week, these boys were coming in during their recess time, to help other students in the school learn to yo-yo. By the end of the week, teachers were stopping to talk to the yo-yo man. “I don’t know what you have done with these boys, this week, but there has been a change in them. They are cooperative. They are behaving in class. The difference is incredible.”
She walked into the middle school PE class, grumbling. The yo-yo skills were presented and the students were told that everyone would be getting a yo-yo to borrow to practice the tricks just demonstrated. “I’m not doing it,” she said, as she sat on the stage to watch. Her eyes spoke of boredom and irritation with all that surrounded her. The PE teacher was willing to let her sit out, as he probably had seen this enough and was tired of the struggle, but I insisted. “Just try it. I’ll help you,” I urged.
I put the yo-yo string on her finger, and held her hand as we, together, did the Power Throw. No real reaction, as I left her alone to practice. Shortly thereafter, I heard her exclaim, “I DID IT!” I turned and saw a new person. Her eyes sparkled with pride. She had a beautiful smile I previously would not have imagined possible on that face. It was obvious that her displeasure was the result of her fear of failure.
Bottom line is: We can give kids the opportunity for success. I think we are all challenged when we hear someone around us say, “I can’t yo-yo. I never could do this, even as a kid.” With the excellent yo-yos and training tips available today, the yo-yo can, with our help, be a very powerful tool. A little self-esteem goes a long way…sometimes for a lifetime.