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How many times have you heard a teacher say that your child has tremendous potential "if only he'd just apply himself" or "if only she'd work just a little harder"? How often have you said the same thing to your son or daughter? Or perhaps you have a coworker who can't seem to finish anything; his reports are never in on time, or her projects...
How many times have you heard a teacher say that your child has tremendous potential "if only he'd just apply himself" or "if only she'd work just a little harder"? How often have you said the same thing to your son or daughter? Or perhaps you have a coworker who can't seem to finish anything; his reports are never in on time, or her projects are always behind schedule. No matter what excuses you hear, you suspect that laziness is the real reason for your colleague's low productivity.
Almost no one is actually lazy, says Dr. Mel Levine, author of the #1 national bestseller A Mind at a Time. Low productivity -- whether in school or on the job -- is almost always caused by a genuine problem, a neuro-developmental dysfunction. Despite this, untold numbers of people have been stigmatized by unfair accusations of laziness, many of them adults who still carry emotional scars from their school days.
In The Myth of Laziness Dr. Levine shows how we can spot the neurodevelopmental dysfunctions that may cause "output failure," as he calls it, whether in school or in the workplace. Dr. Levine identifies seven forms of dysfunction that obstruct output. Drawing on his years of clinical experience he describes eight people -- children, adolescents, and adults -- he has worked with who exhibited one or another of these problems. He shows how identifying the problem can make all the difference, leading to a course of corrective action rather than to accusations of laziness and moral failure. For example, a child who is unable to plan or to think ahead, who cannot consider different methods of accomplishing something or has difficulty making choices may wait until it is too late to complete an assignment or may act impulsively, creating a pattern of bad judgments and careless errors. Dr. Levine explains how such a child can be helped to learn how to plan ahead and weigh various alternatives. This sort of problem, if untreated, can persist into adulthood, where it can wreak far more havoc than in the classroom.
The Myth of Laziness explains the significance of writing as a key barometer of productivity during the school years. Because writing brings together so many neurodevelopmental functions -- such as memory, motor control, organization, and verbalization of ideas -- it can provide crucial clues to pinpoint the sources of output failure.
With its practical advice and its compassionate tone, The Myth of Laziness shows parents how to nurture their children's strengths and improve their classroom productivity. Most important, it shows how correcting these problems in childhood will help children live a fulfilling and productive adult life.
Newsweek Mel Levine wants to revolutionize American education by showing...how children think.
Prologue: The Myth of Sisyphus
Sisyphus, who founded the city of Corinth...witnessed the abduction of young Aegina, daughter of Asopus, at the hand of Zeus and revealed the name of the abductor to the girl's father....When at last he died at a great age, the gods made haste to give him a task that would hold him prisoner. He had to roll an enormous rock up a mountain and, when it reached the top, the rock rolled down to the bottom and Sisyphus' task began at the beginning again.— Pierre Grimal, "Greece: Myth and Logic" in Larousse World Mythology
In Greek mythology, King Sisyphus of Corinth witnessed Zeus's abduction of Aegina and told her father, the river god Asopus, who was searching for his lost daughter. Although Sisyphus was merely a bystander, his disclosure angered the other gods, who unjustly condemned him to spend eternity using his hands and his head to roll a mammoth boulder up a mountain in the underworld, repeating the arduous task over and over again.
Countless desperate children and adults are the modern-day versions of Sisyphus as they toil with their hands and their heads but fail to reach the hoped-for summits of performance in school and in the workplace. And so often they, too, are unjustly accused, in their case, of laziness. They, like Sisyphus, are innocent victims who deserve our sympathy and understanding, for they possess minds that learn and think better than they work. They may radiate brilliance when it comes to logical thinking, humor, and the social skills. But what they produce or the effort they put forth falls short of expectations — the expectations of their parents, their teachers, their bosses. For them, work doesn't work. Like Sisyphus, they feel as if they are getting nowhere as they toil. Their low or nonexistent productivity is not their fault, not in the least intentional. Yet, like Sisyphus, they are often blamed and even punished for crimes they never committed.
Copyright © 2003 by Mel Levine
The Myth of Sisyphus
1 Getting a Mind to Work
2 Russell Strinberg:
A Case of Low Motor Turnout
3 Clint Walker:
Forgetting How to Remember
4 Ginny Caldwell:
Repeated Energy Crises
5 Scott Murray:
Controls Out of Control
6 Darnell Mason:
Words That Can't Describe
7 Roberta Chan:
8 Sharon and Mark Taylor:
Falling Prey to Disarray
9 Output's Inputs
10 The Righting of Writing
11 Cultivating and Restoring Output
A. The Writing Troubleshooter
B. The Story Developer
C. The Report Developer
D. An Output Inventory
Posted February 24, 2010
Stop taking the school's side against your child. Levine (who is an education God in my eyes) will show you that your so-called lazy child is not in fact lazy or unmotivated, but lost; and that the so-called experts in education are, a lot of the time, far from it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2003
I previewed this book at the store and was quite pleased with the topics covered. Just needed more time to focus on the in depth perspective. Very helpful and refreshing as a parent of a teen with Non Verbal LD. Goes a long way to shedding light on this difficult problem.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.