Raising Well-Adjusted, Motivated Children: 3 Reasons to Praise the “Process” not the “Person”
The Happiest Moments of Vacation May Not be What You Think
Last weekend marked the midpoint of the spring soccer season in our community. This means we’re just a few weeks away from handing out participation medals to all of the kids on all of the teams, irrespective of whether they worked really hard or exhibited barely any effort at all on the field.
This is silly, of course. As we all know, kids count every goal and chalk up every win or loss on their mental scoreboards, even if we, as parents, refuse to employ actual scoreboards at their games or otherwise judge their performance. Since we’re not fooling our kids, why do we insist on trying to fool ourselves?
Certainly, our motivations as parents to protect our children in all aspects of their lives are pure. From guarding against a skinned knee to shielding against a bruised ego, we don’t want our kids to experience pain. The question is: Notwithstanding our motivations, are we doing right by our kids when most of us come to realize (through our own personal experience) that unless our kids experience a bit of pain, discomfort, and displeasure, then they’ll never learn, grow, and become inoculated against the often harsh realities of the world.
Accordingly, like most aspects of parenting, trying to raise well-adjusted, motivated children, who become well-adjusted, motivated adults, is a bit of a conundrum.
Embrace Life’s Limitations to Unlock Life’s Promise
If you recently braved airport security lines, crowded highways, and big crowds to travel with your family to a popular spring break destination, you know that vacation can be stressful. But it’s also fun, of course. And we do it—overpriced blended cocktails and all—because it’s an opportunity to bond with our families and create memories that last a lifetime. At least that’s the idea, if not always the reality. A good friend of mine likes to say that traveling with kids is not a “vacation”—it’s a “trip.
In 1944, a 39 year-old Austrian man named Victor Frankl and his wife Tilly were processed into the Auschwitz concentration camp. He spent approximately 18 months in the shackles of the Nazis being shuttled from one camp to another, before being liberated by American soldiers. Frankl survived the Holocaust, but his wife, mother, and brother did not.
What is remarkable is that, despite suffering such great trauma, Frankl went on to become one of the most important and influential neurologists and psychiatrists of the twentieth century. In fact, it was the experience of spending time in captivity, experiencing suffering and deprivation, and watching some prisoners transcend their circumstances while others succumbed to them, that set Frankl on a path to explore life’s meaning and develop a renowned technique called “logotherapy” to help those in need overcome difficulty. Frankl’s big insight, which surfaced at his lowest moment, was gained by observing the resilience of humanity, and teaching others how to find meaning in life even in the harshest of conditions.