FC Youth News

Hard Work & Determination

April 17, 2017

Experts now say that teaching kids the value of hard work and determination is more important than building self-esteem, and the skill of perseverance is essential to a child’s social emotional development. But how do we develop in our children, our students, and our family the belief that hard work is essential, especially in a world where things come to us, and our kids, so easy? Back when you had to milk a cow to eat your cereal, hard work was built into life. Now, if Google doesn’t solve a problem in less than five seconds, we’re grumpy. Here are five tips for parents and teachers that will teach kids how to develop perseverance and determination.

As a teacher and a parent, I’m always in the middle of the debate on whether to push kids toward their dreams or help them live in reality. Right now, my own young sons want to be either baseball players or astronauts.
So what do I say? Do I crush their hopes or build in them a false sense that “they can do anything”? What do we say as parents and teachers? Forget it, kid? I skip the debate by going right to the truth: you can do almost anything, if you’re willing to work really, really hard at it. That’s what matters, and that’s what we should teach our kids. If they are willing to work very hard, with single-minded determination, they can accomplish what they want. And this skill can be taught. Where do we begin?

 

Firstly by praising the effort more than the accomplishment. Things come naturally to some kids, so you have to be careful as a parent or teacher about what you are praising. One kid might sail across the monkey bars on his first try, while another has to work at it for a year before she barely makes it across. The praise should be given to the hard worker who did not give up. The kid who sails across the bars should be challenged to do something harder. If something comes naturally to a kid, that’s great. It doesn’t mean they should get a gold star for it. To paraphrase Barry Switzer, you don’t want kids who are born on third base growing up their whole life thinking they hit a triple.

Unfortunately, in society, we often do the opposite. We over praise the naturally gifted and forget to encourage the hard worker. All kids have both things in them (skills that come easy and skills they have to work at). If you only praise those skills that come quick and natural, then even the most gifted person won’t learn to work hard at those skills that don’t come easy. The world is full of genius couch potatoes and people with average IQs who have millions in the bank. The essential factor is not often brains but perseverance.

Start with this and next week I will give you a few more ideas…

Make sure the kids are coming to classes regularly throughout the spring and summer time.

See you soon,
Emmanuel

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