Don’t Quit

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Every parent wants their child to be successful and smart. Right?

A person’s natural level of intelligence is not really something one can control, kind of like who your parents are or your race. You get what you get, at least until we figure out how to create perfection via genetics. In the meantime, we’re left to make the best of what we have.

In America, new parents begin early setting their children up for success by getting their children ready for school. We encourage them to teach colors, numbers, etc. There are bookoodles of learning apps and television shows aimed here.

While those academic things are important, they are not the single greatest factor in determining whether or not your child will be successful. The experts always tell us the single greatest predictor of success is whether a child is persistent or not. And…how well he/she can delay gratification.

Please take a moment and ask yourself, “Is my child learning persistence and delayed gratification while ‘learning’ in a virtual play world?”

I placed the word learning in quotes because I’m doubtful they’re learning much real-world information. More helpful to their success and well-rounded development would be things such as eye contact with adults, sharing, dealing with other children, not interrupting others, and handling frustration and anger appropriately. They are not learning those things on a tablet or glued to PBS. Watching a TV show about handling anger isn’t the same thing as having your sister break your favorite toy and not hitting her or breaking her toy. That’s real world vs. the virtual world.

You may believe your child is learning persistence because they spend sooo much time on that tablet ‘learning’. Watch them closely for about thirty minutes. See how long they actually work on one skill, such as learning the letter ‘A’. What they’re likely doing is flitting from one task to another like a butterfly, so they’re never bored or unsuccessful for long.  While there are age differences to factor in, it is never normal for young children (younger than 10) to be sedentary for very long. This is not normal and is not healthy. See my earlier post on self-control and blowing off steam.

Here is a helpful idea to teach persistence and delayed gratification. Find a real-life role model. When Tim Tebow was young, he already wanted to play football. So his mother found him a role model–Danny Wuerffel. Both were examples of young Christian men who displayed talent paired with exemplary persistence. You can do something like that, as well.

When it comes to your child’s success as a Christian, they must learn persistence and delayed gratification. The Christian life is certainly not a bed of roses. It is filled with hills and valleys. I look to God as the best example for younger children. Is there a better example of never relenting, never ceasing, never failing persistence than God’s love for us? He never quits on us. Never.

You want your children to be successful in life, so do I. While I can’t do anything about your or your child’s level of intelligence, I can share with you the key ingredient to success–it is persistence.

I’ll end with this quote:

“Success comes in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t come with money and it doesn’t come with fame. It comes from having a meaning in your life, doing what you love and being passionate about what you do. That’s having a life of success. When you have the ability to do what you love, love what you do and have the ability to impact people. That’s having a life of success. That’s what having a life of meaning is.” – Tim Tebow

Would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please comment below.

Love y’all,

Ginny

P.S. Final thoughts:

  1. Here’s the link to my children’s song “Giddy Up”. It’s about persistence/perseverance.
  2. July newsletter coming soon. Have you signed up yet? This month I’m sharing thoughts on a mom’s most important job PLUS many great book recommendations for you and your children. And, you really don’t want to miss the boots I found on Pinterest.

Here’s What’s Missing

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“Children today can’t seem to control themselves.” If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times.

Maybe you’ve said it yourself…or, at least thought it.

Since I work with young children and families, I’m on the front lines of the behavior and parenting styles of today. And yes, it is mostly true that children today can’t seem to control their impulses to speak or move, as much as in years past.

There are many possible reasons for this and little hard evidence backs up any of it. But, here’s what I think and it is only what I think.

  1. Children today are encouraged to go from one thing to another because they play on video games from toddler ages. Yes, those “learning apps” are not teaching persistence, they are promoting short attention spans.
  2. Children today are too cooped up. From infancy, they are almost constantly restrained in a carrier, a bumbo seat, or an exersaucer. Later, they move up to car seats and strollers. They rarely have the freedom to move around and explore without a hovering parent.
  3. Play is too structured and academically oriented. A toddler does not need to know letters and colors as much as they need to know how to deal with anger, not getting their way, and other social skills.
  4. Children need a variety of physical play: swings, slides, climbing, running, spinning, jumping, riding bicycles, etc. They need a lot of this each and every day. I am not talking about organized PE, I’m referring to free play with other children.
  5. Children need one on one time with children to learn how to apologize, forgive, what it feels like to get hit, bumped, shoved, etc. They need to learn how to handle themselves with confidence on a playground without depending on an adult to save them from every little incident.
  6. They need fewer toys to play with. Yes, you read that right. Too many toys! Too many electronic toys! They need things that don’t entertain them constantly because then they’ll expect everything to entertain them–even adults.

As a pediatric physical therapist, I’m totally focused on getting children active and participating in physical activity. But, I also want them to follow the Scripture, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

What I think is missing today are adequate opportunities for children to “blow off steam.” When we see children fidgeting or getting anxious, their bodies may be telling us they need some time to move. If we don’t give children these times and if we don’t stop keeping them too cooped up, they will get frustrated and angry. (Pssst. Adults have the same needs.)

Let’s do the hard work of parenting, friends. Our children deserve better. Life can be hard and frustrating, but God did not give us a safe-space, He gave us a way to live in an unsafe space and learning self-control is essential to surviving in an unsafe world.

Love y’all,

Ginny

P.S. My funny song, Freeze, will help you teach them to get their bodies quietened down. Click here.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Children Need Chores

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“Does your child pick up her toys when asked?” I waited.

The young mom looked bewildered as she pondered her answer. Continue reading “Children Need Chores”