Teaching Children To Become Champions
What Makes A Champion?
Champions come in all ages and sizes. My Brother is a champion. My best friend, Julie was a champion. My children are champions. Many of you who are reading this are champions. Children become what they learn in most cases. And if we're lucky, they also learn what they're taught. But children learn the most by example.
The key word here is children. The earlier we begin to teach our little ones correct principles, the more likely that they will grow up living these principles. They will seldom grow apart from them.
The single most important thing to teach children is to believe in themselves. This is the foundation of every champion.
Focus On A Child's Strength
Key Points For Helping Children to Become Champions
Let's examine some of the stepping stones for teaching a solid and positive belief system.
- Focusing on the strengths of the child. Make this a consistent habit. Be specific as you compliment a child. Generalities are too vague. This is true at any age, including adults. Ex: " You are so strong " - wrong. ( why am I strong?) Instead, address the action - " I see that you are able to carry heavier bags of groceries. You're getting stronger ." - right.
- Making sure your expectations are reasonable. Expectations must be directly associated with the age and maturity of the child. Unfair and difficult expectations bring possible negative results. ( failure). The child's self-esteem is built on his successes, not his failures.
- Give the child positive encouragement. Children who receive encouragement in a consistent manner, develop confidence in themselves and do better in life.
- Praise the child often. Honest praise is positive feedback and reinforces confidence within. Again, be specific and try to praise the action or deed. The child will try to live up to the praise. If more than one child is in the room, address the other child or children in a positive manner so they don't feel left out. You never want other siblings to feel ignored or unappreciated for what they bring to the table.
- Realize that each child is different. Respect the difference and teach accordingly. One child may be musical or mechanical. Another may excel in sports. If you prefer sports over music, keep that to yourself - or vice versa. The beauty of being different must be nurtured.
- Never criticise one child in front of another. This is a huge mistake. You are only inviting feelings of anger, embarrassment, and resentment from him. This is an area which most parents really need to work on.
- Listen to the child. When the child is speaking, do not interrupt, correct or be busy doing something else. They deserve your full attention and feedback. You are teaching them how to listen to others by your example.
- Offer children opportunities. The attention span of young children is short. ( It is for some adults as well. ) Offer variety, giving them the opportunity to discover and explore.
- Teach your child good values. Being a good example is a sure way of instilling lasting principles. I taught my youngest child honesty at a very early age. Today, a grown man, he demonstrates integrity in everything he does. Even a trip to the supermarket assures me that one of the bags of food will include a receipt and exact change. I love it!
- Never lie to your child. When you tell a lie, you are demonstrating that lying is acceptable. It is not! Trust is one of the most valuable characteristics we can acquire. Trust is born from being honest and incorporating integrity into every area of our life.
Teach Children To Appreciate The Little Things
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny. “ - Mahatma Gandhi
Today's society is severely lacking in appreciation. Children will not become little champions if they are not taught to appreciate. Think of all the things that warrant appreciation:
- Transportation...the list goes on and on.
In Closing - Make EveryTeachable Moment Count
" You yourself must be teachable if you are to teach" - Audrey Hunt
Humility is being teachable. We can be confident, knowledgeable, intelligent and still be humble.
Real champions have humility and are teachable. They set high standards for themselves. When they fail (and they do), they pick themselves up and begin again. When my piano students asked me how many times they must practice, my answer is always the same - " until you get it right."
I encourage my students to become champions, not for me, but for themselves.
It doesn't matter how many times we are given good advice, it won't help us one bit if we do not have a teachable spirit. If you can answer yes to the following questions, you can be sure you are teachable and in return, you are better able to teach your children.
- Do I admit it when I'm wrong?
- Do I become defensive when I'm criticized?
- Am I open to new ideas?
- Do I ask questions?
- Am I a good listener by listening more than talking?
- Do I have self-discipline?
- Do I give up easily?
- Do you bring out the best in others?
- Am I self-serving?
There is no greater calling than that of a teacher. I believe this with all my heart. It was my kindergarten teacher, Miss Butterfield that influenced my life the most. She made me feel loved and accepted me when no one else did. I was so frightened the first day of school, I wet my pants while sitting in my little chair. She gently took care of the situation so that no one would laugh or make fun of me. Then, she picked me up, held me in her arms and called me " sweet little Audrey June ." That was the only time I liked my name. It was the first time I felt something called " love."
© 2011 Audrey Hunt