What are we teaching our children?

I have an interesting angle to look at the world our children are growing up in these days.  I am a mother of a second and a third grader as well as a kindergarten teacher.  I see children all day long.  I see life through the eyes of my sons, my students, my colleagues, the parents and the community.  I see life.

I sit back and watch. I listen. I learn.

Here's what I see... we are teaching our children the wrong things, and saying we are doing it for them, to help their confidence, to help their self-esteem.  But let me tell you something... we aren't!

What are we teaching a child when you tell them they did a great job, but they didn't even try their hardest?

What are we showing a child when we do every task for them, from homework, to tying shoes, to projects, to standing up for themselves?

What are we telling a child when you reward them at home because they didn't get rewarded at school and other children did?

What are we telling a child when you complain to the school because you didn't like the grade your child received even if it was the grade your child earned?

What are we showing a child when we reward them for participating, will we have to reward them for waking up? for eating their dinner?  why reward people for doing what they are expected to do?

What are we teaching a child when you blame the teacher for a mistake your child or another child made?

What are we showing a child when every child makes the team, get the medal, wins the prize?

I want my sons to try their best.  I want them to realize they can't always be the best. I want them to own up to their mistakes.  To do what is expected... because it is expected.  I want them to see that they are not perfect... that no one is perfect.

So often I see children who are afraid to try.  They are afraid to fail. They do not know how to try.  They do not know how to live without someone helping them.  I hear more I can'ts in my room than ever and when I say try, they look at me with helpless looks.  As a society we are enabling children.  We are telling them it's ok you don't have to do this because it's hard.  Let me tell you... life is hard.  We need to teach children to deal with challenges not run away from them.  We need to teach them that they are not perfect.  You will not always get an A, or even a B.  You will not always succeed.  But, you need to hold your head up high, admit that you tried and next time try harder.  We need to show children that we make mistakes.  That we aren't perfect and that it is OK.

So next time you go to do something to make it all better... think about what you are teaching your child... and think about it from all angles.  They don't need you to rescue them, they need you to support them as they grow into adults.

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