When we first published What Kids Need to Succeed I got a lot of feedback from people who thought it was really mean to deprive kids of almost anything we could buy for them…. The idea of asking children to learn the difference between “wants” and “needs” was virtually foreign. And encouraging young people to find ways to earn money for themselves… well… “not popular” is an understatement from that set of comments.
Was I was discouraged? Another understatement, for sure.
Fortunately, I also heard from parents, teachers and grandparents who felt relieved and supported in their attempts to get their children to be part of a team, do their own homework and think of others.
In “live” workshops for parents, many of them started to “confess.” Sometimes it was about regret they felt for not trying to hold kids accountable for their actions before the teen years. Other times it was the embarrassment they felt about reaching adulthood without many of the practical life skills they needed to navigate successfully.
Why the reminiscing? I’ve spent a lot of time “hangin’ out” the What Kids Need to Succeed website in the past few days. I rebuilt it. Although it’s a bit less sophisticated than what we had before I am FINALLY able to manage it myself. (Let’s hear it for risk-taking, learning from mistakes, hard work and overcoming challenges!)
I had trouble with the formatting of the first few lines on the front page. Over and over I tried to corral the words “What’s wrong with this picture? There’s a child where an adult should be.”
They left me thinking about several things.
- The importance of constructive imagination. If you (or your child) continue on your current course, with your current habits, what kind of results can you expect in a year? or ten?
- The gift of seeing through another’s perspective. In the past few weeks I’ve had the privilege of spending time with some remarkable writers and have been thinking about the power of story. When we do things for our kids that they are able to do for themselves do they think it’s because we love them? or because we think they’re incompetent?
- Tiny shifts in focus can bring enormous results. This was a “go to” thought when my son was younger. Experiencing tantrums by adults at work made it MUCH easier to nip those behaviors in the bud at home! Remembering that I was “raising a future adult” always helped set priorities and choose my battles.
What we see depends in large part on what we’re looking for. How’s your “parenting perspective” today?