Is it just a myth?
"The Myth of Laziness" by Mel Levine, M.D. (Simon & amp; Schuster, $26)
THE PITCH: Despite all evidence to the contrary, your children are not lazy; they are more likely victims of a poorly understood brain-based malady that Mel Levine calls "output failure."
THE PITCHER: Levine, a pediatrics professor at the University of North Carolina Medical School, is a highly regarded expert on learning differences in children and author of the bestselling book "A Mind at a Time."
THE GOOD: Given Levine's stature, it is no surprise that "The Myth of Laziness" is a serious consideration of something that, irrespective of labels, is a serious problem. Levine asserts that "output failure" is most clearly revealed in people's writing and spelling, with different error patterns relating to various neurodevelopmental problems. For example, people who spell well on a spelling test but poorly in essays are plagued with "weak simultaneous recall." Levine says what we see as general laziness evolves from the negativity children face when the symptoms first present themselves.
THE BAD: A cynical reader might wonder to what extent "output failure" is just a euphemism, laziness dressed up in a nice shirt and tie. An even more cynical parent might be left agape at Levine's seeming assertion that laziness, as such, doesn't exist. Oh, and he doesn't have any kids, so it's not as if he's actually lived with teen-agers.
THE REST: Even those who don't buy the entire argument might find use for Levine's prescriptions for combating the problem, which include tips parents can use for creating home environments that remove obstacles to productivity. If they don't work, you can always go back to calling your kids lazy.
Source: The Washington Post