Today’s guest post is by Kathy Koch, Ph.D., the Founder and President of Celebrate Kids, Inc., of Fort Worth, TX. Dr. Koch is a favorite Hearts at Home workshop speaker whose wit and wisdom brings such encouragement and direction to moms in the trenches. I love this post because it goes right along with what I’m writing in No More Perfect Moms!
Your child recently learned to stand without holding on to you or a piece of furniture. You’re excited because you know a big milestone is about to occur.
When seeing your child standing, you don’t shout, “Sit down. You might hurt yourself!”
No, instead you have someone run to get the video camera while you get in position. You expect progress. Through your behavior and language, you let your child know you do.
Four feet away. Arms out stretched. Smile on. Encouraging tone of voice. Focused. Statements ready. “Come to Momma!”
Eventually your child will come. But, not initially. There will be some false starts. Missteps. Attempts. Half-steps. Fall downs.
But, not “mistakes.” We would never tell anyone that our child made a mistake trying to walk, even if he or she fell down “plop” on the tenth attempt. Rather, we probably announce their every attempt. We call our parents and friends and perhaps let the Facebook world know, too: “Jessica tried to walk today!” This is our attitude because we’re looking for progress, not perfection. Growth, not completion.
We know error-free walking is the goal. It’s possible, but only if it’s the destination. Perfection can’t be the journey. The journey must be built on faith and an expectation for good, better, and then best. Otherwise pessimism and inappropriate expectations will set in.
If you’ve noticed, children don’t crawl. They walk, skip, gallop, and run. When they fall down, they almost always pick themselves up and keep going unless we react as if they should be upset. If we gasp, look at them with alarm, possibly run toward them, and ask if they’re okay, the tears come.
Their goal to walk is accomplished. Celebrated. Affirmed. Maybe you expected me to write “our goal.” But, it’s theirs, too. That’s another reason children don’t crawl.
What about now? Are there things you wish your children were doing or doing better? What difference might it make if you applied a “Come to Momma!” perspective?
Four feet away, not eight. Arms reaching toward your child, not folded in front of you. Smiling, no frown. Encouraging, optimistic tone, not a doubtful whine. A request your child wants to fulfill, not a demand he can’t. No premature use of the word “mistake.”
What if your children had a “Come to Momma!” belief system? I can accomplish what my parents are asking me to do. Attempts are just that, not mistakes. I can pick myself up to try again. Perfection may never be reached or necessary. My parents are waiting to celebrate progress.
It you want this to happen, what changes do you need to embrace? What do you need to teach your children? New beliefs, attitudes, and actions? How will you do that?
I wish you only success!
Dr. Kathy Koch is the author of How Am I Smart? A Parent’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences. She blogs at www.DrKathyKoch.com and is on Facebook here:www.facebook.com/celebratekidsinc. You can learn more about her ministry here:http://www.celebratekids.com/About-Us.html
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What insight! Perfect time for me to read this, as our four are now out of toddler stage and starting to “branch out” into different areas. THANK YOU for sharing this. A thousand times, Thank You. I needed this perspective!
I’m deeply encouraged to know that my writing was the perspective you needed today. Fabulous! A thousand times, you’re welcome!
The funny thing is, I read so many blog posts, I never know which ones are the ones that are going to ‘stick’, going to ‘change my perspective’. I read this article when it first came out and I have not stopped thinking about it. My daughter started swim team this week – she’s excited – but well, she’s not really that good. It’s been hard for me to watch her struggle. I want to tell her to focus, to try harder, to be more determined. So this article was perfect – reminding me that she’s growing, working towards a goal – reminding me to be positive, to smile at her, to notice the small ‘steps’ she’s making towards her goal, to say ‘good job today’. THANK YOU, Kathy!
Also, two other ‘older posts’ come to mind that have ‘stuck’ and ‘changed’ my parenting perspective over the years – one was about being a ‘yes’ parent and one was about being a ‘dream maker’ and not a ‘dream taker’! Thank you, Jill, for positively influencing my parenting journey over the years!
I love hearing that, Cathy!
I’m sorry I’m just seeing your comment now. I’m proud of you for applying the relevance of the “Come to Momma” philosophy to your daughter’s swimming. Good for you! I’m confident she’ll be encouraged by your interactions. Excellent!