Monday, December 20, 2010

Sweet Success: Is It Accomplishment or Happiness?

As soon as our kids are old enough, we enroll them in the best schools; sign them up for math and reading enrichment classes; register for a multitude of after school activities - sports, creative arts, music, performing arts.  All because we want to provide our children with the best of everything, to ensure their success in life. 

In spite of this, new research continuously shows that great accomplishment is typically the combined result of constant parental guidance and dedicated effort from the individual, rather than inborn talent and ability.  Hard work and discipline contributes much more to success in school and in life than IQ does.

What steps can we take to maximize our children's potential:

1.  FOCUS ON EFFORT AND NOT ABILITY.  In my family, we encourage and praise effort instead of achievement.    I praise my kids for their effort whenever they bring home academic excellence awards in school, when they beat their own time in swimming, or whenever they relentlessly shadow the soccer ball.  

In doing so, I discourage mediocrity and set a standard of excellence that will hopefully carry over as strong work ethic when they grow into adulthood

Inculcate in your children the belief that they make their own success.  I teach my kids that success is all about hard work, and that effort is more important than whatever innate ability they may possess. 

2.  discipline with consistency and patience.  I do not know with you, but patience is a hard virtue for me to practice; more so if it requires proceeding along the same line as discipline.  My impatience manifests itself through words that are spoken because of frustration rather than love.
Reacting in anger will change their actions for the moment, but responding in love will influence their hearts for a lifetime.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” - Ephesians 4:29

3. Be there for the family.   It is fortunate that my husband and I are one in the belief that constant and constructive parental mentoring is the most influential factor in raising a successful achiever.  Hence, we both decided that I be a full-time mom and dedicate my efforts into helping our kids achieve the best that God has planned for them

As far as kids and teenagers are concerned, there can be no quality time without quantity. 

4.  PRAY WITH YOUR CHILDREN and FOR YOUR CHILDREN.  What better legacy to bequeath our children than a strong and unyielding faith in God?   At bedtime, we take turns to lead the night-time prayers, even if it sometimes inadvertently lead to a half-hour affair.  INSERT BRIE PRAYER TIME. 

Commitment to a steadfast personal relationship with God will lessen the impact of whatever drawbacks that life may give them; not because the obstacles are far and few between, but because they trust that God will take them out of it.

5.   DEVELOP THEIR CHARACTER.  The true judge of whether we have raised a successful child is whether we have raised our child to be a happy, compassionate, confident, motivated and productive member of our society.

After all, success without happiness is not success at all.

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