Saturday, February 23, 2013
'THE' BEST vs 'THEIR' BEST
It is amazing the amount of pressure kids can be put under regarding their performance. Take sports for example. I have become quite alarmed at the sight of some parents who run up and down the sideline bellowing instructions to their kids and belittling them when they 'drop the ball'. I am sitting there thinking, "Come on for goodness sake, it is only a game!" You would think their lives depended on whether their kids were in the winning team or not.
What are these parents thinking? Are they afraid they will be shamed by their own kids for not being THE best? Are they living their lives vicariously through their kids? Perhaps they were not successful in that particular activity and are going to 'make darn sure' their child makes up for it. Could it be that their own parents gave them a clear message that if you don't win you are a loser! How sad is that?
Not every person in the race can be the winner. Not every child in the class can get the top grade. I think everyone would agree that the best way to improve performance in our children is to encourage them to better their own perfomance rather than measure themselves against others. You cannot control others' performances, but you can improve your own. We must also be careful not to set the bar so high that a child can't possibly reach it, therefore feeling a constant failure.
Do kids always have to do their best? No, I would say not. There are some activities that should be just for fun. We cannot be fabulous at everything. We need our kids to enjoy life, not have to constantly be in competition with others or themselves.
Our actions are always a response to the values we hold. It is when our kids demonstrate honesty, obedience, respect, forgiveness, loyalty, commitment, integrity and trustworthiness that the negative pressure towards their own performance lessens. They begin to understand their strengths, talents and giftings. They develop the mindset to decide what is important and what is not. They will not be negatively affected by others' disappointment of them. They know when doing their best is necessary and they know what to do to change results.
Sure, it is gratifying to be 'THE' best, but with less pressure we can achieve even greater things than we ever thought possible. Now that is really exciting!