I’ve decided once per month to do a post called “Champion Kids’ Nuggets”. I have people ask me frequently how I get my oldest son involved in so many activities and help him achieve high levels of success. (I don’t neglect my youngest, but he’s only 3) .At age 7, my son has already started working on a non-profit company, held an event to benefit charity under his non-profit, has had writings published in a magazine, and achieves academic excellence. I am not saying these things to brag. And no, I don’t mercilessly push him and keep him from enjoying his childhood. In fact, the opposite is true. I go to great lengths to involve him in playdates and take him on adventures for pure enjoyment. But there are a couple of nuggets I will share today that have helped put him on this track.
1. I provide an example for him. Sure, you say, every parent provides an example for their child. But you have to be extremely purposeful in what you provide. When I’d like to watch some “mindless television” but the kids are around, I pick up a book instead. When someone is in need and I could be selfish and pretend to “look the other way”, I don’t. I participate in charity events, and do many things on a personal level, even with friends and family, to show how important giving is to our family. I’m far from perfect. But what I am is purposeful.
2. I don’t accept less than his best. Now before you start thinking, “see, she does push him too hard”, let me explain. He’s not a big fan of drawing, or coloring. So I don’t expect any Picasso-esque masterpieces. As long as his stick figures drawings are pretty much on subject and his coloring is in the lines, we’re good. But he likes writing, and expresses himself well. And when he takes his time, he can write beautifully written stories accompanied by equally beautiful penmanship. When he rushes, well, let’s just say he won’t need med school to have a doctor’s signature. His chicken scratch is impossible to read. So instead of letting him get away with scribbling, and throwing something together, I make him redo his work. Multiple times if necessary. Until he does it the way that I know he can. The result? He takes pride in his work. He feels good when he does it right. And he continues the progress to excellence. I don’t demand perfection. Just his best.
When it comes to my little guy, I’ll follow the same principles. It may not look the way it does for his big brother – he could hate writing but have an incredible ear for music – but I will always keep an example before them, and help them to do their best.