Anytime you are working your children hard, give them a vision for it in a larger setting. By regularly referring to the big picture, you end up lavishly praising them and getting them to higher ground with JOY!!!
• “Just think: when you have finished reading the entire Bible all the way through, you will have read more Scripture than 99 percent of all the adults in our entire state!”
• “When you get done learning how to do this you can completely run a _____ business! You’ll be the youngest person in America to know how to do this.”
• “Just think: when you have to do this as an adult, you won’t have to learn how to do it then, you’ll already know it—and will be free to show others how to do it. You’ll be the expert everyone else will need and will look to.”
• “When you can do this, the neighbors’ jaws will drop.”
• “Someone will observe your character and your skill and go tell somebody. In no time you’re gonna be wanted by customers from miles around.”
• “After all these mistakes this year with this project, you will be that much ahead of everyone else who are only just starting to learn these things next year. You are right up there with Edison, man!!!”
The key: you fill in the sizzle, while they fry the steak.
A mom’s applause can get children to the moon and back. They soar on your words and the bigness of the future—and hearing about their significant place in it. Visualizing themselves as leaders, whom everyone is hanging on, gives them the grit to do what has to be done today. It gives them an edge of confidence and competence unequaled from children who grew up without such applause. One of the most awesome things you can do today is build the semantic atmosphere of your home.
If possible, work with your children in these endeavors, so they will know you’re united as a team and are not indifferent to their efforts.
Whether it be learning to change a tire or cracking an egg, parents provide the forward inspiration to it with their words. “We will now crack the whole dozen eggs so that we progress at mastering this skill. We’ll get so that we can do this with no egg on the floor, no shell in the dish. We’ll chip away at it this morning and again tomorrow morning and the next until it is conquered—and you become positively amazing at cracking eggs (or tying shoes…ad infinitum). The parent visualizes the fledgling first attempts at all skill areas as they will be when the skill is fully mature and needed in the adult world. The parent transfers this vision of the end result to the child now as a means to motivate that child.
You say to your seven-year-old:
• “We will learn how to make this oatmeal!” (It is a difference between the child sloppily doing work only for now, and bothering the parent, to, instead, tackling the skill with gusto, and it becoming an art form, a challenge to do it skillfully, putting his heart into the skill and his rolled up sleeved arms into the effort.)
• “We will learn how to make this oatmeal well and earlier than others, to the end that we will then be able to help the world in this area as soon as possible”.
The parent saturates today’s otherwise “boring” skill, math problems, piano practice, writing challenges, with comments like: “I know a 60-year-old mother who still can’t make oatmeal well. You will do it excellently. You will pay attention to the details. You will be a marvel. You will be able to help the family down the street when the mother is ill. You will be capable.” By your words you transfer the thrill of working at being capable in as many things as you possibly can bring under your child’s dominion!!! The parent’s job is to transfer to the child an appetite for the finished ability. Both parent and child wind up immensely happy at every undertaking, if it is done in this spirit.
[To read how to motivate your child to excel academically, order our booklet or eBook, Motivation: Academic energizer.}