Watching your child overcome a challenge and be successful can produce the most joyous feelings in the world. In contrast, seeing them stumble and fall can drop your heart into your stomach.
Preparing our children for the inevitable hurdles of life is a challenge. We want to see them jump each one with ease, but we know they will catch a knee or foot and stumble. Heck, sometimes they will simply forget to jump. However, the true measure of their preparation is not how many or which hurdles they hit, it's how quickly they get up and continue running.
As my children grow, I hope to instill toughness, work ethic, self-worth, confidence, love, kindness, and so much more in them.
To try and capture these ideals, mostly teachings from my father, I have been posting a "lesson" each Saturday on social media (Social Feed). Every now and then, I will compile a few and further expand on the lesson. The first of these Encouragement Articles can be see here: 5 Lessons For My Children.
Here are 5 more.
Talkers talk about what the doers do
There are too many talkers in this world today. Too many people voicing opinions without ever having lifted a finger to build credibility.
There is an anonymous saying "You’ll never be criticized by someone who is doing more than you. You’ll always be criticized by someone doing less. Remember that."
The talkers will always talk. Teach your children to remove the distraction. Block out the noise and negativity. Be a doer.
As long as you are taking steps you are making progress. Those steps might not always be forward, but each one is at least a step of learning and will eventually get you where you want to go.
Don't just talk. Put words into action.
Worrying wastes energy
Each day there are countless items that occupy our minds. Some actionable items, others memories, but some thoughts are those of worry. Worry about a work project or deadline, worry about a test or a social event. It could be anything that takes you into the "what if" column of thought.
The challenge here is to recognize that worrying has no actual effect on the outcome.
As Dr. Elyssa Barbash, from Psychology Today, put it: "Unless your worry can tangibly help you identify solutions that you can implement to prevent a negative outcome, worry is often something that people do to feel as though they are being productive when really they’re only creating more distress for themselves."
Or in a simpler form, Rick Warren states it this way: "Worry is a waste of energy. It can't change the past. It can't control the future. It only makes today miserable."
My dad would say, "If you can do something about it now, do it. If not, make a plan for when something can be done. Otherwise, you are wasting energy."
'I'll try' is a weak response
Teach your children to be decisive in their decision making. This means that they either commit to something or not. There is no in-between.
'Try' implies they are not fully committing to the decision or task. That they may not give their best effort because they already believe it to be something they are unable to do.
If there is a known out, a potential fall back plan, then we will never be fully committed to the task we are working to accomplish.
In the words of Yoda, "No, try not. Do or do not. There is no try."
Or as my dad would say, "Try is a soft word. Don't try, do."
You don't get what's fair you, you get what you negotiate
In an ideal world, perhaps from a utopian perspective, each encounter or exchange, whether business or personal, would be fair and mutually beneficial. The goods/work offered would be met with proper and fair compensation. All relationships would be selfless. Small businesses, corporations, individuals, everyone alike would look out for the well being and prosperity of each other.
Unfortunately, our culture today is a far cry from ideal or utopia. There is continual pressure inside corporations to reduce cost and increase profits which hurts employees and customers. People use others for personal gain, whether it be for contacts, popularity, or even pleasure.
Know your worth.
Be confident in who you are and your abilities.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are undervalued or feel as though you deserve more, speak up. Make a change. The world won't give you "fair" by default.
Kobi Simmons recently tweeted this out: "A bottle of water can be .50 cents at a supermarket. $2 at the gym. $3 at the movies and $6 on a plane. Same water. Only thing that changed its value was the place...So the next time you feel your worth is nothing, maybe you're at the wrong place."
Whether you are in the wrong place, or are Vitamin Water priced as Spring, no one will make the change for you and give you what is "fair".
My dad simply said, "You don't get what's fair, you get what you negotiate."
This principle has served me well throughout my life.
Don't be afraid to speak up. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. Know your worth. Then, teach your children to do the same.
It's just as valuable to know what you don't want to do as it is knowing what you enjoy doing
There have been plenty moments and opportunities in my life where the only valuable knowledge derived from the experience was that I never wanted to do that again.
To me, that is just as valuable information as knowing what I do enjoy.
One summer in high school, I thought it would be fun to be a waiter, so I got a job at a local Italian place. From the beginning, I was a poor fit. Some tables were a joy to talk to and interact with, but most were not. I finished out the summer with valuable knowledge that never wanted to work in the service industry again. As a bonus, I also gained a greater respect for the role and am now much more generous in how I interact and tip!
I never would have known otherwise.
On the other side of the coin, just because you are good at something doesn't mean you enjoy it. It may make a suitable career but don't settle for something that doesn't bring you joy and fulfillment.
The best job is one you love and enjoy that also fulfills a need in the world. We don't all get so lucky, but its worth shooting for.
The early bird gets the word, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Be ambitious and go after your dreams, but also be aware of your surroundings and those you surround yourself with.
At the least, I pray these lessons make my children aware of the hurdles in life. At most, them when to jump.
More to come.
Be Present. Be Intentional.