Share Your Successes Openly With Your Children – Part 1

Okay, you tell us to honestly tell our kids about the tough times and include them in the resolution process. Now you ask us to share the successes? Won’t they just automatically see the successes? Won’t they just naturally be happy about those?

Not necessarily. When you reach a goal; when you overcome a major obstacle; when you take one small step toward a pre-determined resolution, take the time to rejoice and celebrate. Does this mean that you will “brag’ in front of your kids–talking about how great you are? No. It means that you will give yourself an internal pat on the back and you will speak to the kids about the way you feel.

Ken Blanchard, in his wonderful “One Minute Manager” series makes note of how easily we “catch each other doing something wrong” and how often we do the same thing to ourselves–“catch ourselves doing something wrong”. He encourages his readers to “catch each other doing something right and to catch yourselves doing something right”.

That’s easier said than done. I am harder on myself than anyone else. Are you? Even if the vast majority of people think I have done a good job at some task, if one person is critical or not pleased–I am devastated.

Does that make any sense? Not really. But, that has been my way of processing for a long time and I have had to work very hard at listening to the good–not just the bad. I have had to make myself realize that I cannot please all of the people all of the time.

Father Arlen Fowler, priest, caregiver, friend, teacher and confidante says to me, “Cathy, if you were lecturing for 100 people and 99 people benefited from your presentation but one person didn’t, you would stew and fret about that one, wouldn’t you?”

“Oh, yes.” I reply. “I would be distraught if someone didn’t like me and my presentation.”

“Well,” he responds, in his infinite wisdom. “You can give that up. You are not perfect, you know. There has only been one person who has been perfect, and look at what they did to Him! You continue to go out and do the best you can possibly do each and every time. Know in your own heart that you have done the best you can do. If someone doesn’t respond to you, brush off the dust from your shoes and go on to the next town. But be sure that in your own heart and mind, you know that you have given the very best you can give.”

Now, that’s advice to live on, wouldn’t you agree? I have come a long way since the day he delivered that bit of wisdom to me. I used to expend all of my energy on the one rather than become nurtured by the other ninety nine. Even though I go into every relationship–every event–every consult–every lecture with the intention of meeting the needs of every person in attendance, I know that I cannot please all of the people, all of the time. I try. But, for numerous reasons–some mine, some the recipient’s, we do not mesh.

I used to crucify myself over this–and still do to some degree today. But Father Fowler’s words of wisdom provide comfort when, in my heart I know that I have done all that I am capable of doing with my available resources.

This understanding has helped me to “pat myself on the back”–silently and internally. When I began learning how to acknowledge even the smallest of victories to myself, I found that more victories came my way. I have learned that I will become all that I think about. That’s a fact of life as Napoleon Hill says in his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, so shall he achieve.” You will do the same thing. You will become what you think about. And your children will do the same.

Therefore, begin with yourself. Look for your strengths and maximize those. Pat yourself on the back when you take even the smallest step forward. Then, do the same for your children. Catch them doing something right and acknowledge that. Teach them–through honest example the power of believing and of positive concentration.

When you begin thinking about success in all aspects of your life and when you begin visualizing that success and receiving positive reinforcement from the world and from yourself, you will begin repeating the behavior that accomplished those successes. It’s the old “self fulfilling prophecy” theory. If you believe you will become successful, you will do so. If you believe you will fail, you have set yourself up for just that.

The challenge, then, as parents, is to not only begin believing in your own ability and your accessibility to success, but nurturing that within your children. Remember, always that you are a role model for your children. When you work at developing your own confidence, you will be teaching your children to do the same thing. When you develop confidence and begin accomplishing success, know that you are teaching your children more than they will ever learn in any textbook: one of the greatest truths of life, “You become what you think about.” (Earl Nightengale, Lead the Field.)