• Clayton Southworth

A Right Intention Gone Wrong

Updated: May 7

PLEASE NOTE that if you are reading this, that means you are a dedicated and loving parent who is going above and beyond to be a great parent. I commend your heart and efforts!

As the old saying goes, "Kids don't come with an instruction manual." So, how do you know what to do? Everyone who has become a parent knows that it just works out. Instinct clicks in, and you use your best judgement.

Is your best judgement in harmony with your child's learning disability?

This is not intended to beat up parents, especially good ones like yourselves. Rather, this is to better understand the dissonance that may be causing harm to the resonance of your child's learning disability. A normal lesson that you learned once upon a time may make sense to you, but that same lesson, as well intention-ed as it is, can land on a child's learning disability in a negative way.

Here is an example of well intention-ed guidance that lead to a negative outcome.

Because of my learning disability, I struggled in school. I had to work really hard just to get a C. Although school was challenging for me, I was very intrigued by human anatomy. It was hard to learn all the Latin names of the different parts of the body, and it was not simple subject matter. However, I was fascinated and really enjoyed dissecting frogs and I did not mind the extra time in study because I enjoyed analyzing the diagrams and diving into the subject.

My teacher observed my genuine interest and suggested that I get on track to becoming a surgeon one day! I was excited and told my Dad,

"What if I became a surgeon!"

My Dad loves me and worked really hard to provide me with a great life, I am extremely thankful for him. He wanted only the best for me, and he was there to help me. Further, I trusted his wisdom because he was the man of the house and a very successful business man. As a struggling kid who admired his well respected Dad, I leaned on his advice.

"Clay, I am not sure that is the best way to go...You would be great at other things too. To be a surgeon you would have to go to school for a lot of years. You hate school! You wouldn't want to be a doctor or a lawyer, Imagine all those tests, you would struggle for years before you would even have a chance to work. I think you would be happier in a different profession."

I agreed with him and wrote off that possibility. He was right, and I identified myself with his conclusion. I struggled with academics, and I probably would have failed a lot of tests. With other career opportunities out there, I could eventually make just as good a living in a field that did not require such high level of education.

He steered me away from that with good reason. The consequence of steering me away was that I interpreted his comments as "I am not smart enough to become a doctor." I agreed with that identity.

The problem was that it was not just the surgeon route that was cut off. I said no to a lot of other opportunities and interests down the road because I thought I was too stupid to go through the training. That moment contributed to lowering my self esteem, confidence, and belief in my own ability and value. Further it affected my livelihood potential, career potential, earnings, and future family...all from a loving and well intention-ed guidance from a caring Father.

Everything is neither true, nor not true. It is true that he was right, I would have struggled. Maybe It would have taken me 9 years instead of 7 years of higher education. It may have taken 1,000 more hours of study and $80,000 more in costs just to get to the same place as my colleagues. Perhaps that stark contrast with my colleagues would have lead to internal despair. At the worse case, what if I threw in the towel after spending a few hundred thousand dollars on years of schooling, and then had to pay off all that student debt WITHOUT the high paying job? He was intelligent and he had good reason to say what he said. He was trying to protect me from an heartbreaking uphill battle.

Looking back now, it is also true that I would have been a great surgeon. My learning disability really made me learn how to focus with intense concentration. I had to work hard to be good at anything, so why not reach for the stars? Because of the shear and unrelenting repetition that I had to embrace, I learned that once it "clicked," I knew it inside and out. Others could regurgitate information easier...I could not regurgitate the information until I had mastered it. In some ways that difference could arguably make me a BETTER surgeon than some of my potential colleagues, even if it took more years of education.

I now know, many decades after that moment, that I am capable of just about anything.

My life's journey was greatly shaped by my parents influence.

With respect for my Father, and for you, as a fellow parent, I say all of this with respect and optimism. We all use our best reason and try to help our kids. The point of this is not to punish, but to learn. I want you to know this, so that the children can have the greatest opportunities.

So what should my Dad have done?

My recommendation is to tell them to trust their gut. "Awesome! Why do you want to be a surgeon? It is also not easy and takes a lot of training... How bad do you want it? I am happy that you enjoy that stuff. learn more about the subject and meditate on it...if your gut tells you that is what you want, then by all means, go get it!"

If you are concerned about your child's learning disability interfering with their aspirations, then I suggest you, the parent, sign up to take "The Perception Effect." This program is designed to teach you and your child. When do you follow the rules, and when do you break them? What is the right approach? How do you turn around a learning disability from a challenge to a success? With The Perception Effect, you take control of the future you create!

Every case is different, but the fundamental lessons are the same. This two month program meets once per week and focuses on the steps you need to overcome. With the right guidance, I show you how to recognize the underlying challenges in a optimistic way, and then I follow it with a process to overcome cognitive challenges.

With much respect for my father and for you, I thank you for reading this and hope this was helpful. Click here to learn more!