Sunday, August 10, 2008

Maybe I'm not a huge meanie after all

Yesterday’s “skill” is something I am just going to have to try to be aware of over a period of time, trying to make sure I can find a balance between being permissive and being too controlling, it’s definitely not a one day trick. Hopefully I will be able to form some new habits on that front, because I can see how it would be beneficial to all of us.

Day Four-Expect the Best

Today’s tricks are to have a high standard. Set the bar high, give them responsibility and let your kids know that you know they have the ability to accomplish things. Let them know that you accept them even if they don’t reach their goals, but encourage them to keep trying. Encourage, don’t praise.

This is a hard one, not for me necessarily, but I think our society has really reached a point where the praising is out of control. Every team in the league gets a trophy, teachers don’t use red pens anymore, parents are afraid to be critical of their children for fear of ruining their self-esteem. How in the world do we expect them to be able to gage how well they’ve done something, or if improvement is needed in an area? How many times have you wondered why that 16 year old does such a crappy job bagging your groceries? Or why your babysitter doesn’t clean up after herself? When every act is worthy of a hip hip hooray the praise becomes meaningless and there is no pride in a job well done. Why bother working hard if you are going to be congratulated the same for a mediocre job as you are for doing a great one? You can’t crush self-esteem if it hasn’t been built.

Sometimes I think I am too hard on my kids, and I know they have more chores than a lot of their friends. I don’t believe in babying them. I think teaching someone to work hard and have pride in what they do is one of the best things you can do for a person. Mark my words, with the way society is heading, it won’t be long before just being a responsible hard worker will set you apart from the crowd the same way having computer skills did not too long ago. It’s a dying art.

My favorite part of today’s chapter is when he says “an unhappy child is a healthy child. Being unhappy about something spurs you to make changes and improve your situation.” I agree, and I will sleep much better tonight knowing that I have been doing my part to make my kids healthy for all these years.

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