A Whole Child Approach to Education:
Teaching Success with “The Living Rope" Exercise

According to the whole child approach, it is becoming increasingly important for children and young adults to develop important soft skills beyond academic knowledge. One of these important skills is long-term planning. Students often don’t realize how much life remains after high school. As a result, they may not think about how the decisions they make now can affect more than 75% of their life. To demonstrate the impact that the first 18 years has on the remainder of a person’s life, we have developed the “The Living Rope” exercise for use in your life skills lesson plans. 

To make a living rope, you will need 100 feet of rope. Using masking tape or electrical tape, wrap the first 18 feet of your rope. A 100 ft. rope gives the best impact, but you can also use a 50-foot rope, coloring the first 9 feet, or a 25-foot rope, coloring the first 4 ½ feet. If space and resources are limited, you can also use a 10’ rope, coloring the first 21 ½ inches. 

100' Rope 100%
18 Years 18%

Explain to your students that the colored (taped) portion of the living rope represents the first 18 years of life. The rest of the rope shows how much life remains. This provides a visual representation of their life progress.

You Have a Long Way to Go!

Making good grades now could make you more appealing to employers and college recruiters. That means that 30 feet down the living rope, you could have a nice home and a built-in swimming pool.

You would still have 50 feet to enjoy it!

Developing a good work ethic could earn you your first $1,000,000 halfway down the living rope.

You would still have 50 feet left to spend that million!

Good exercise habits during your first 18 feet will keep you healthy and fit.

That gives you 75+ feet to enjoy a happy, healthy life!

Becoming better learners with great values, pride, and integrity will allow your students to better enjoy the rest of their long life.

That gives you 75+ feet to feel proud of the person you’ve become

The first 18 feet are so important, and yet such a small part of the entire rope.

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