Monday, June 05, 2006


Is the glass half-full... or half-empty? Depends on how you look at it, right? They say that if you're pessimistic, it's half-empty, but if you're an optimist, it's half-full. You can sit back and say "God.. I wish I had a big house, with a horse stable, a swimming pool, and bunch of land! That would be SO cool!" But.. perhaps to the person who already has that, they see it as a gi-normous house to keep clean, a huge mortgage, high utility bills, stables to muck, vet and feed bills, accidental drowning liability, pool maintence, and WAY too much grass to mow. As they say... the grass is always greener, eh?

Well.. there's one new theory about describing behaviors this way. I kinda like it. We've been learning to do this with our kids- especially Thomas- over the past few years. It is HARD, let me tell you. ALa posted on it today under the title of "More PC Crap at Public Schools". Instead of calling your child "stubborn", teachers are being encouraged to call them "focused, committed or determined". Sounds a LOT better than stubborn, doesn't it?

During a seminar I recently attended, the speaker was praising this new thought pattern. She asked us to list bad traits about our kids. The audience raised traits such as mean, stubborn, back-talker, liar, gets into everything, hyper, dawdles, defiant, silly, loud, and ignores you. We were then tasked to come up with more positive descriptions of these same traits.
Mean became assertive.
Stubborn became determined.
Liar became creative thinker (don't agree with that one, lol).
Gets into everything became inquisitive.
Dawdles became pays close attention to detail.
Silly became fun and care-free.
Back-talker became independent thinker.
Hyper became full of energy.
Defiant became a natural leader.
Loud became expressive.
Ignores you became deep-thinker.

You get the picture.
I'm not saying that I'm ignorant to my child's negative traits... but I do see where these traits can be turned to positive ones. It all starts with the parents, and how they react to kids when they are ignoring you. Instead of yelling "PAY ATTENTION TO ME! STOP IGNORING ME WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU!", try "Hey.. looks like you're deep in thought, but I have something I need to ask you". I'm not saying it's easy- most of the time I forget. But when I remember, it's usually a positive reaction instead of putting Thomas on the defensive right away.

Doing this (about others- or yourself, for that matter) helps you turn perceived negatives into positives. After all, do you really think that Reagan was a perfect child? Or Donald Trump? I'm betting that they were both very "independent thinkers" who were often very "determined", "expressive", and "natural leaders" as children: All traits that probably drove their parents crazy, but made them into the world and business leaders they are today.

Perception isn't everything... but it sure counts for a lot.


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