Lesson# 7: More on attitudes

The day before yesterday I posted about praising our children and ways to do it that will build them up rather than (inadvertently) leave them worse off than before. It’s important not to waste our efforts where our children are concerned, letting them feel and believe that well-deserved praise, exhortation and encouragement is meaningless and empty.

Deerfeet, whose beautiful blog often inspires me in my home education journey, posted a link to a post of hers on a similar subject, which really spoke to me. You can read the full post here (it’s worth the trip over). I want to highlight two bits that really spoke to me:

“Dweck has conducted studies with hundreds of students, mostly early adolescents, in which experimenters gave the subjects a set of difficult problems from an IQ test.  Afterward, some of the young people were praised for their ability: “You must be smart at this.”  Others were praised for their effort: “You must have worked really hard.”  The kids who were complimented on their intelligence were more likely to turn down the opportunity to do a challenging new task that they could learn from.  ”They didn’t want to do anything that could expose their deficiencies and call into question their talent,” Dweck says.  Ninety percent of the kids who were praised for their hard work, however, were eager to take on the demanding new exercise.”

‘The Roar of the Tiger Mom’ By Annie Murphy Paul
TIME Jan 31, 2011

I read this TIME article last year and found it very thought-provoking at the time. I think I even modified my behavious slightly as a result, although it wasn’t a great time for us and things got, well, blurry.

Then there was this:

“That’s right,” agreed Grandma.  ”Shall I tell you something else that’s good?  God is pleased by the things we do for him out of love.  We may think some of our actions, or deeds, aren’t improtant, but they’re special to God because he notices the love you put into them.  Giving a helping hand, a friendly smile, or an encouraging word is just as important to God as any other job.”

from The One Year Book of Family Devotions.  Vol. 2

I am reminded that the attitudes in our family, particularly unconditional love, gratitude and a good work ethic, could all do with some focused prayer and Bible Study this week.

(I know I said two things spoke to me. I meant three.):

“Some people may say that these are ‘little’ things.  Maybe they are.  But we must not wait for a chance to do great things.  We must begin with little deeds of love.”

‘Deeds of Kindness’  Adp from ‘McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader’

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