The apple never falls far from the tree. Children are sponges to how we, as parents, influence them. It’s an important lesson for all parents to learn.
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory of our children.” – CHARLES R. SWINDOLL
“Come on, let’s have a race,” the young child says. “Come on dad! Race me, race me!” he shouts with excitement. “No, I’m too tired, it’s too hot, I’ll beat you anyway,” are some of the words drifting from the father’s mouth. This dad has another agenda. Higher on his list of priorities is talking to his mate and looking at the boats. The young child is persistent, unwilling to take no for an answer. Still dad continues, “It’s much too hot to race, let’s do it another day”. A passerby encourages dad to take up the challenge and says, “Go on dad, give it a go. Go dad, go!” The dad finally takes notice and says, “Ready, set, go!”. Off they run for a good four metres. Game over. The child is happy and the praise and connection is beautiful. It only takes a moment to lift the spirits of our children and it only takes moments to crush our children’s self-esteem and confidence. As parents, we have a huge responsibility. It is our job to be our children’s self-esteem and confidence driver.
Cat Stevens’ words “My boy was just like me” ring true when looking at our children’s lives and what they are receiving from us as role models. WEB Du Bois says, “Children learn more from what you are than what you teach”. Children close their ears to advice and open their eyes to example. What was the father modelling to his child in the moment of being more interested in the boats and his mate? It took two minutes to run a tiny race and provide an impacting moment in the young boy’s journey.
Our job, as a parent, is to encourage our children to do their best. Winning and losing are part of the process. Beating mum or dad in a little ‘race’ fosters confidence, growth, competitiveness,spontaneity and development. All elements are essential to a healthy, happy child and ultimately, the adult that child will become.
“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression,” Dr Haim Ginott says. So much emphasis today is placed on winning. The ribbons are distributed for places in sporting events at school, enormous emphasis is placed on being a place-getter at an early age. The question here is what is it stopping? Being their best and doing their best is development enough but learning from coming in any position is what it’s all about. If they come 4th, 8th or last, instead ask them what they can do next time to do a little better? Praise is a key element. We know they absolutely did their best and this is all we can ask of them.
TIPS FOR ENCOURAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF OUR CHILDREN:
- Always follow through and do as we parents say we will do (no changing our minds, backing down, giving in).
- Words of praise are ‘imprints’ for our children’s If it’s not right the first time, encourage them to take the next step, jump or experience to support their growth. Every step is a lesson.
- It’s about doing the best we can – it’s not about winning every race or game. Encouraging children to do ‘their best’ will build self-esteem, confidence and When doing ‘our best’ we can pick ourselves up and give it another go.
- Modelling ‘doing our best’ is imperative to kids’ When stuff happens, we pick ourselves up, talk about it and our feelings, acknowledge everything, then look at the best way forward.
At the end of the day, we want our children to be more than what we are. We are the model for them to grow and develop from. It’s important to keep top of mind our influences on our children.