There are few things that bring us more joy than seeing our youngsters succeed! Unfortunately, too many of us make the mistake of responding to their success in ways that gradually condition them to give up when the going gets tough.
Let's see how this happens:
Little Roger just tied his shoes. Because this warms his mother's heart, she says, "Oh Roger. You are so smart!"
Roxanne got an "A" on her spelling test. Beaming with pride, her father praises, "Roxanne, you are so bright!"
Roger says his ABC's. Grandma replies, "You're the smartest kid in town!"
Roxanne constructs a wonderful science fair project. Her mother smiles, "Oh, sweetie, you are so intelligent."
If this continues, Roger and Roxanne will eventually be conditioned to believe that they are successful only because they are smart. Why's this a problem?
Kids who believe that smartness is the key to success give up whenever they encounter things that leave them feeling not-so-smart.
More fortunate kids are conditioned to believe that hard work, practice and perseverance are the keys to success.
Kids who believe that hard work and perseverance are the keys to success are more likely to keep trying when things get tough.
"Why did you do that so well?"
When they reply with shrugged shoulders, we ask:
"Did you work hard? Have you been practicing? Or did you keep trying?"
When kids verbalize any one of the three, they begin to believe that they have what it takes to keep going when the going gets tough.
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Charles Fay
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