I believe the world has gone insane when it is wrong to tell your kids the truth. In 4th grade our eldest daughter decided to play the flute and was horrible at it. Don’t laugh but I was informed that I could not tell her the truth but instead should encourage her with positive reinforcement. BULL CRAP!!! How can we continue to lie to our kids? Why should we lie to our kids? How do we then prepare them for that little thing called reality? That little thing called life is tough and you will face some hurt and reality checks so learn to deal with it? Do not misunderstand what I am saying: I am not advocating that we trample on our kids’ dreams or put down their every effort. What I am promoting is the idea that we should be honest with our children and prepare them for potential disappointments and constructive criticisms. We are creating a generation of emotional imbeciles with limited physical, emotional or mental capabilities. Let me not even start on the moms who wait at the foot of the slide for their little ones to slide into their arms. Get real everyone, kids must learn to fall, dust themselves off and run to your arms for comfort. It cannot be that we do not allow them to discover and venture on their own. Move away from the bottom of the slide.
So back to the flute, which I must tell you our daughter is no longer playing. If your child is not good at the flute then find a new instrument because every instrument is not for every child. Please I beg of you, do not tell them they are doing a great job. Commend the effort but only if it is truly shown and for heaven’s sake stop hovering over the child. A friend just loaned me a book which I found to be a good read. It’s called, The Right Instrument for Your Child by Atarah Ben-Tovim and Douglas Boyd. Buy it and figure out what works for your kids. How does one take their child to audition for American Idol when they know deep down that they are absolutely tone deaf? You should be whipped in the town square for such an atrocity.
Our eldest (while living in the US) also opted to play basketball: it was nothing more than torture for her and for us to watch, but guess what? She got a trophy and was told good job. Not by us but from the coaches. She was also allowed to play in every game even when she was just hopeless. In no time we put a stop to it and she continued her swimming and is now running track. Is she the best swimmer, no but she is better than average and she puts real effort into it. That is something we encourage and praise. Is she excellent at track? Maybe, we don’t know yet but her coach (he is not from a region of the world where they feel obligated to praise mediocrity so I trust his judgment) has high hopes.
Oh, before I forget let me tell you my favourite example of how we are crippling our children even further. Wait, hold your breath and prepare for this: At the prize giving celebration at school every child gets an award (thanks to God, Allah, Buddha and Haile Selassie that that crap does not happen in the school the kids now attend). Cut me at that point and no blood will flow. Parents please be reminded that all humans are created equal but we do not all have equal abilities or potential and guess what? It is ok for us to accept this and to let our kids know!!!!!! How can a child who scores 100% be rewarded the same as the goofball who scores 58%? Keep in mind that I am not including in this comparison the child who has a learning disability: that is a different issue. I am referring to children without learning disabilities.
Sorry about that but I got distracted and am just getting to the point of how this has now gone to the dogs. We recently got a dog Kenzy who is the sweetest little thing (says the woman who is still somewhat afraid of all animals with teeth). One BIG problem: she poos all over my beautiful rugs and being Jamaican this goes against every fibre of my being. As a result we sought advice from the place we adopted Kenzy and of course they sent us a link to a website that provides information on the best way to train Kenzy to do her business. Low and behold the website pointed out that in training Kenzy we must not be upset with her when she poos where she shouldn’t. Instead we are to tell her no and reprimand the poo.Yep, you read me right, “reprimand the poo”. I have never heard of such horse pucky in my life. Reprimand the poo? So not only are we emotionally crippling our kids but it now also gone to the dogs. Can you imagine me standing over a pile of dog poo saying, “bad poo, bad bad poo”?
Get real people, life is tough and there will be many times when as adults our kids will have to face the truth about their inadequacies, fears and less than stellar abilities. Aren’t we doing them a disservice by not preparing them for the eventuality? Aren’t we somehow accepting and encouraging less than the best for those whom we want the best? Please let 2011 be the year when we become real again and stop believing that we need to shield our kids from the reality of life. Let them know how great they are in the things at which they excel. Boost their confidence in a truthful way and watch them rise to the occasion when we have to let them know that they need to do better.
Until next time……ONE LOVE!!!