Not many parents set out to raise a thirty-year-old Nintendo player who sprawls on the couch all day sucking up pizza and diet Pepsi. Yet many parents actually subvert their positive intention of raising responsible, confident, fully functioning children. They do it by unconsciously using Parent Talk that allows and encourages helplessness.
One important function of families is that of support and encouragement without judging, evaluating, rating and ranking the efforts of one another.
Sara spent an hour one Saturday afternoon tossing a small beach ball at a plastic basketball hoop her fatherhad brought home from a garage sale. Her first efforts missed the hoop by several feet. None of them hit the backboard. Her father stood by, retrieving each shot and returning the ball to her for another attempt. He also made descriptive comments after each shot. His Parent Talk was deliberate and focused. He gave supportive comments that were limited to describing what happened.
What are those around you learning from your reactions to your mistakes?
In Anchorage, Alaska, a first-year teacher made a spelling error on the board. And a well-intentioned student pointed out the mistake. At the moment, the rookie educator probably didn't realize that this event firmly connected her to all teachers everywhere. No teacher has escaped this defining moment. How a teacher handles this important event can set the tone for the rest of the school year.
In Vancouver, British Columbia, a third-grade teacher thanked the student for being willing to take a risk by speaking up and pointing out the error. Her appreciative reaction let her students know it is permissible to speak up and question the teacher in this classroom.
In a Vero Beach, Florida, classroom a middle-school science teacher confessed, "What a silly mistake that was!" By making fun of himself to show his humanness, he inadvertently informed the class that mistakes are silly and if you make them in this classroom ridicule could follow.
A Longview, Texas, high-school teacher reacted to the public disclosure of his mistake by thanking the student for pointing it out and leading a discussion of what could be learned from that mistake. Discussion themes included:
1. If you try to go too fast, errors happen.
2. Mistakes can be corrected.
3. Mistakes can lead to learning.
4. Mistakes are not good or bad--but simply data you can use to improve and grow.
5. Mistakes are valuable.
6. If you're not making some mistakes, maybe you're not learning anything.
7. You can't do anything about a mistake if you are not aware of it.
8. What you do after learning you made a mistake is your choice.
9. Erasers have a purpose, and they don't work by themselves.
The scenarios above represent only a small portion of the possible responses that a teacher could make when being confronted with a mistake by a student.
What are those around you learning from your reactions to your mistakes? Whatever reaction you choose in this important situation, you can be assured of one thing. Others are watching and learning something. Are you offering that lesson with intentionality? Are you purposefully defining that defining moment?
CHICK MOORMAN...Exerpted from Parent Talk by Chick Moorman. Chick and Thomas Haller are authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. See more of Chick's work at: www.ChickMoorman.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at: 877-360-1477.
Have you noticed more than a hint of anger creeping into your parenting style? Do you parent more with your vocal chords than with your heart? Then, you may need the gift of grace-full parenting. It holds children in a state of grace, even as they are held accountable for their behaviors. It communicates love and caring while simultaneously implementing the discipline strategies called for.â€¨â€¨
Maybe your child needs to take a common aspirin. Or perhaps he has been diagnosed with depression/anxiety and been put on Zoloft by your doctor. He could be eight years old or sixteen. Regardless of age or type of medicine prescribed, what do you do if he refuses to take it? How do you get a strong-willed child to take his medicine when he is determined not to take it?
A parent can gain all kinds of information from inner and outer sources regarding the multidimensional aspects of their children and yet when it boils right down to it, unless that information makes their daily interaction with that child more conscious, then maybe it wasn’t really that helpful.