I began my research by asking my son, “What inspires you to keep working, even when the work is difficult?” His quick reply was, “I keep working by choosing the most challenging thing I’ve had a lesson on. Then it’s interesting to figure out.” I pressed, “But what if you encounter a problem you cannot solve or have trouble finding a solution even with a lot of effort?” He answered, “Then I find a friend and ask them for advice or see if they have a good idea.”
The only expression that we’ve found to be adequate enough to address this complex issue, is the phrase, “You did it!” It seems to say everything.
Dr. Montessori observed that children are already motivated to learn. We don’t need to impose motivation on them. In fact, if we give them a little encouragement, they’ll do far more than we would dare ask.