Wednesday, March 7, 2012

5 - You're Good, not Great...and Tiger Moms

I was proud of myself today.  A good mom moment.  My eldest son, age 6, is going through a rock star phase.  He is a Big Time Rush fan, and his eyes light up anytime he sees a music video (which I censor, and pull up on YouTube for him).  He practices the moves, dances and sings.  I'm hoping that this isn't what he wants to do with his life, because if it is, he has some work to do.  Some people are born with it, some people are not.  When he sings, I smile and clap.  But today, after he sang a little song he made up, he said "I'm GREAT".  I said "You're Good".  He looked at me, shocked.  Shocked as if he had said 2 plus 2 is 4, and I said It's 3.  He KNEW he was great, and I was clearly wrong.

I went on to explain that anyone who is GREAT at something, practices a lot, and learns from the best in the industry.  Great riders take riding lessons, great tennis players take tennis lessons, and great singers take singing lessons.  He nodded in understanding.  I followed up with, "Do you want singing lessons?"  He didn't have to think about it...  "No".

I was proud of myself for finding an opportunity to teach my son that we work hard for the things that are important to us.  I didn't plan on steering him away from a singing career at age 6.

I do adore my kids, and so I worry that I might inflate their egos, from time to time.  I praise them often, and genuinely admire their creativity.  It is not often that I tell them they aren't as great as they think they are, or that the work they did was not good enough.  But, I try to be honest, and ask for more effort, and better results if I know they are capable, on a regular basis.  This is partly in thanks to an article I read last summer, in a waiting room.  It was about the book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.   There is something to be said about the Tiger Mom's mentality, in which they set the goals and standards very high, and expect their children to achieve those goals; Because they believe their children can.  No inflated egos, no satisfaction in mediocrity.  The Tiger Mom has a point, and, if we want our children to be successful, as most parents do, it is a perspective worth considering.  Through the bad, there is some good, like it or not.  Here is the article, by Time Magazine, if you want to cut to the chase.  I'll be honest, I didn't read the book myself, just the review.  It's on my "To Read" list.

I would never condone her methods. I think we should treat our children with kindness and respect. You'll still see me smiling at my children, telling them good job, and holding them if they just want to be held.  But, I am also going to make my 4 year old practice his W's until he writes them correctly.  I believe that he can.  I also believe that hard work is important, that he can do anything he puts his mind to, and that most things in life don't come easy.

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