As a public speaker, school director and parent, I spend a great deal of time talking about children with other adults. I find that the majority of these discussions are in the negative. They often center on the theme of what the children are doing “wrong.” Parents ask for advice about behavioral challenges. Teachers and school directors express concern and look for answers to their dilemmas about unacceptable social interactions and developmental levels of their students. Think about your discussions about your own children or those you might teach. Are more of your conversations in the negative than about the positive?
I challenge us all to turn our conversations around. Children are more capable than we often give them credit for being. They have a variety of talents. They need to learn from their mistakes and will continue to do so for their entire lives. Adults have strengths and weaknesses and so does every child. A child who interrupts with thoughts that cannot wait is anxious to share and communicate. When I was a student, I was often reprimanded by teachers for talking. When I see an adult comment that their child or student doesn’t stop talking, I say, “Neither did I and today I am paid for public speaking. It can serve the child well someday.” When adults comment that a child is pushy or bossy, I often say, “That child has leadership skills. Help to direct those skills for good and to help her peers.” A child who tests boundaries is testing the level of his/her independence. It is the boundary testers who grow up to be the ones who challenge societal notions and the limits of our intelligence. We often hear our world’s best minds and biggest innovators talk about how they were not the best students and had a hard time with rules.
Every conversation about children should include not only what we need to correct but what was intrinsically good. And so here is my challenge for parents and educators. Every day, share what is right about the children. Children say and create the most amazing things. Let’s talk about that. When your spouse comes home, start your conversation with something positive about your children. When your school director or principal walks into your classroom, share a funny anecdote or show an insightful piece of work. Continually ask yourself, “What is Right About the Children?”
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Copyright 2013 © Cindy Terebush
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