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Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: In school, I feel like I am the only one who actually wants to learn in all of my classes. Everyone else is always looking for a way out of not learning or not doing work. They don't seem to see the actual purpose of school, to learn stuff. I really want to learn a lot, in all of my classes, it's like i'm knowledge hungry or something. I keep looking for books to read. I don't know what i should do because I feel like I'm the only one who actually wants to learn. What should I do?

A: In a word -- LEARN! You are answering your true calling when you pick up a book to read on your own or you challenge yourself in your coursework. I guarantee you that you are not alone in your desire to learn in school or outside of school. If you're a teenager, in many teen social circles it's not cool to admit that you want to be smarter. Many kids badmouth school, books and learning because they think that attitude will get them more acceptance among their peers.

You don't have to advertise your hunger for knowledge. Just go about the business of improving your mind by learning anything and everything that interests you. The more highly developed that your mind becomes the more appreciation and joy you will take from everyday existence. Pay attention also to developing your emotional self and your spiritual self so that you'll be "firing on all cylinders." I was a curious kid like you and I've always been thankful that I didn't sacrifice up my thirst for knowledge so I could be "one of the guys." You can still hang out, play sports and participate in extracurricular activities while you are gaining knowledge. You might find some kids who share your thirst for learning in organizations outside your school. You might even want to take a course at a nearby college, just for the fun of it.

Sometimes it's hard to listen to our inner voice that tells us who we really are when so many others' voices are chattering away with their expectations of us. It sounds like you have the courage to continue to learn and challenge yourself in a humble, dedicated manner. I offer you my encouragement and a guarantee that you will never regret your search for knowledge. You'll discover many people who will feel like you do about learning once you depart your high school. There's a whole world full of fellow curious, knowledge-thirsty kids out there waiting to talk and grow with you. Thanks for writing.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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