Mar 3, 2019 | henrycheryl28 |
PARENTING AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT BY MICHAEL SALL (PART 3) Religion is too personal for me to offer much advice. Just be sure to explore ethics and God with your child. If you are not a person of faith give him the option of deciding what to believe for himself and let him know there are differing viewpoints from your own. No matter what those ideas are, at a minimum you should examine the idea of God from both a historical perspective and a philosophical one. Despots throughout history have said they would rather be feared than loved. That may be true for rulers, but your child will fare much better if you choose love. Punishment is dangerous, can be horribly destructive, and it is a rapidly depleting resource. Parents have a finite number of these arrows in their quiver, and each time they shoot one they are left with less firepower. Once a punishment is meted out, the next time the dose must be increased in order to gain the same effect. Worse yet, we can only observe the effect of punishment on the surface of the child. What can't be seen is how it affects the child emotionally, molds his thinking, and how it reorients his feelings. Make no mistake. The overuse of punishment can and will create some truly bizarre and unwanted results. I am not suggesting that a reprimand or a mild punishment is never called for. Occasionally you will not know what else to do. But it should be reserved for situations that are dangerous to the child or others. If you are careful and use it sparingly, and with modest intensity, a look of disappointment will prove more effective than a strap. In order for positive reinforcement to be an effective tool, it must be realistic. Don't get caught up in the popular idea of increasing self esteem with bogus rewards. If everyone wins a blue ribbon, blue ribbons become meaningless. Treat your child and others with respect, and his self esteem will do just fine. What you need to do is drive home the notion that success is measured by the investment or effort the child puts into something, no matter what the final score is. He then has an achievable goal to shoot for. He doesn't have to win every race or make honor roll to be successful, but he must work hard, which in itself provides the richest of rewards. The contrary notion must be stressed as well. If he wins the race without giving his full measure, he failed. Never stop reminding him of this. Don't deny your child the pleasure of accomplishing things for himself and savoring the the joy of hard work. I don't mean never help him, but work with him, not for him. If he does not do things for himself, he will learn little, and will not get the satisfaction work and accomplishment provide. Teach your child that his natural talents are not nearly so important as what he does with them. Not everyone is intelligent, or a good athlete, or a gifted musician. But everyone can act ethically, everyone can work hard, and everyone can be clean and organized. These things are infinitely more important than any natural ability. God given intelligence is probably the most overrated characteristic of all time. No matter what your notion of success is, intelligence, as a component of success, is a distant fourth or fifth on the list of what leads there. Ethical behavior is the first most important characteristic needed to be successful. It helps us to be comfortable in our own skin, and provides a roadmap of red and green lights on the way to our goals. Common sense is far more important than intelligence. How many academics can describe every detail on the veins of a leaf, but have no idea which way the wind is blowing the trees? A strong work ethic is more important than intelligence. "The best salesman is the one who knocks on the most doors." Thomas Edison said, "Invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." Organizational skills are more important. Certainly good organization allows accomplishments with a fraction of the effort than when one is disorganized. My point is that most tools needed for healthy development are not God given, but learned. It is your job to see to it that learning happens. Success is not defined by a child becoming President of the United States, or any other exceptional position in society. If it happens, great. But success is achieved through leading a productive, contented, fulfilling life. There is no real relationship between achieving an exceptional position in society and happiness. Earning enough money to live on is important, but once someone reaches that "survival" level, anything more contributes little to happiness. Gaining celebrity status may make people love you (with "may" being the operative word), but it doesn't help you love others. Wealth, position and power have never been, and will never be, bridges to happiness. At a young age I came to a realization that has helped guide and motivate me throughout my life. There was a time when I failed at almost everything I tried. The only thing I did well was making excuses for the failures, while accepting virtually no responsibility myself. The excuses ranged from broad psychological concepts to more narrow reasons, tailored to the particular failure at hand. I found these mental gymnastics soothing, concluding I am a good and capable person, but I've had some bad breaks in life. It was as if I believed the "world" was listening to me, and I could con them into ignoring these repeated failures. It finally dawned on me that the rest of the world could care less how I arrived at where I am. That "world" only cares about who I am and what I am. Sure, sympathy abounds for others who have had tough breaks, but sympathy will never pave the road to success. There is nothing more destructive, more cancerous, than those ideas I embraced. Even if they contained some truth (and most were silly), dwelling on them became an obstacle to success, not a conduit. Failure is not shameful. It is a part of the learning process, and learning is a part of success. We must first admit our failures, not try to excuse them. Don't teach your child to avoid responsibility by making up phony excuses for him. Of course if there are conditions beyond his control they should be acknowledged, but the focus should be on lessons learned, how to improve things, and then getting back to work. If you define success as giving your heart and soul to a project, the likelihood of success by any definition skyrockets. We live in real time, not in the past and not in the future. It is important to learn from the past, but just as important not to live in it. The future should be planned for, but like the past, it should not dominate our actions today. Life takes many strange turns that undermine the best of plans. Therefore be sure that you and your children, first and foremost, enjoy today. Teach them the essential truth that "The joy is in the journey, not the inn." Doing the right thing today, working hard and developing the right habits provides the best life has to offer, and not coincidentally happens to be the best plan for the future anyway. Few people think about this, but take it from someone who has broken many destructive habits and formed other better ones. Good habits are like robots working for you, while bad habits work equally hard against you. Good habits make you the master of your destiny, and bad habits become your master. There is a process for forming and breaking habits. I suggest you learn how and teach your children. The idea is that if you force yourself to do whatever you want to become habituated, after a period of conscious repetition (which is very difficult), you stop thinking about it and the habit is formed. Once an unconscious response to a given situation is instilled in you through repetition, the action which was work, becomes effortless. Suppose you are sloppy at home and elect to try to change. The first step is identifying the problem. You must make up your mind to straighten up and put things away as soon as possible, no matter how difficult it seems. It is difficult because it requires conscious thought. Thinking about something you must do equals work. No thought means no work, whatever the physical movement may be. To learn you must not procrastinate. If you do, you will think about it repeatedly, making the cumulative work-load far greater. Worse yet, it might never get done. Doing something promptly relieves you of a greater mental investment later. The more often you consciously make yourself straighten up right away, the more natural and easy it will become. Before too long you will not be thinking about it at all. In fact you will become uncomfortable seeing things sloppy, and picking things up will be easier than leaving them out. That is when the habit has been formed, that is when you are the master, and that is when the robots have arrived. In order to assist with the development of some habits, I used bribery with my kids, and on a regular basis. This was considered unwise a generation or two ago, but it seems to be gaining in popularity. Entire school systems now have programs paying children to read and study. If I don't want to do something, I want to at least get paid for it. Why should children be any different? Of course this does not apply to health and safety issues. Requiring children to help with family clean up jobs, maintain personal hygiene, do school work, or do anything that is part of his contribution to the family unit should be set as a minimum standard. So what do you do if he doesn't perform? Do you punish him? You can't threaten to punish him and then not follow through. That would certainly send the wrong message. My preference is bribery on the positive side, and to simply let him know how disappointed you are on the negative. Assuming that there is a loving relationship, carefully chosen words will be your number one tool, with bribery running a close second.
In this document MICHAEL SALL is explained about Parenting and Personal Development.
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