A sports post??? From Mom Unplugged? Has the Earth tilted on its axis? Do pigs now request landing clearances from the control tower?
At the conclusion of last Sunday’s Superbowl I received two phone calls within 30 seconds of one another (I have call waiting), both to announce the news of the NY Giants’ unexpected victory over the New England Patriots.
Having no TV and less than no interest in football, nonetheless even I knew who was playing and who was supposed to win. So…lesson number 1: just because you are TV-free doesn’t necessarily mean that you are uninformed (although sometimes it does).
The first call was from my sister, who also normally prefers the Puppy Bowl to the Superbowl. The second was from my husband who had urgent business to attend to in Albuquerque last weekend and stayed at his house there instead of coming to Arizona. I wonder….could the “urgent business” have had anything to do with the fact that the Superbowl was on and I have no TV? Hmmm…..
Both of them were wildly excited about the upset and said it was the most exciting football game they had ever seen which, in my sister’s case, doesn’t mean a whole lot, but in my husband’s case it does.
On to lesson number 2: Obviously, New England was feeling cocky and far too sure of themselves, therefore they lost (Annotation: this expert opinion is coming from me who knows very little about football and didn’t even see the game).
What a life lesson! How do we teach our children self-esteem and confidence, yet also ensure that they develop humility and perspective?
This is a tricky balance indeed. I do believe that there is a recent trend toward the creation of over-entitled children and young adults who are incapable of accepting any responsibility for their actions. Why this is, I am not entirely sure, but it is one of those big parenting issues that I ponder regularly.
I am trying to come up with a strategy for encouraging self-confidence, yet thoughtfulness, humility, and perspective in my children. My kids are still young, so many of these ideas are plans for later years, but I have come up with a few things that I am hoping will help my children achieve this delicate balance:
+ Have them work a “real job” as soon as they are old enough. If you are afraid of work interfering with academics, then at least encourage a summer job.
+ Let them find and apply for their own job. Try not to interfere. That way the success, or lack of success, of their choice is their responsibility and not yours.
+ Before they are old enough for a “real” job, have them babysit, mow lawns, shovel snow, sell lemonade…anything! The point is to encourage them to learn to earn and save money.
(More thoughts on kids and work coming in a new post soon!).
+ Have them save and pay for their own “extras.” (One tangential note: TV-free kids are exposed to far less marketing than kids who watch TV, so their list of “must-haves” tends to be shorter.)
+ Give them chores at home. Even at a very young age, children are capable of doing something to help out. Personally I don’t believe in paying for chores since this just leads to a bargaining battle if you ask them to do anything extra (“But how much will you pay me to empty the dishwasher today?”). I feel that chores are simply part of living in a household and should not be remunerated. DO let them know however, that you appreciate their chores and how much their work helps you and the other members of the family.
+ Encourage volunteer work. Volunteering yourself is the best way to get them interested in volunteering. Volunteering (and working) can introduce them to people they would never normally encounter. I think it is important for children to actually see that there are people less fortunate then themselves. This is a hard concept for a child to absorb without actually experiencing it himself, and it is a big step towards developing compassion and a desire to help others.
+ Teach kids about different charities and what they do. Have them contribute part of their allowance or savings to the charity of their choice, or start a Candy Bank to earn money for charity. Here is a good book that we have about kid-friendly charities:
+ Buy books about other countries of the world. Books can be a wonderful starting point for discussions that help children understand how people live in other countries. Here are some good ones:
For more book suggestions, please read my International Children’s Book Day post.
+ If possible, travel internationally.
+ Teach kids a skill that they can later teach to or share with others. Knitting, crochet, french knitting (aka. knitting mushroom), or of course a musical instrument are all good ones. Sharing something that we are good at instills confidence and feels good to all concerned.
How interesting that a sports event has actually inspired me to examine life! Perhaps pigs really can fly after all.
PS. Any regular readers might notice that I have mentioned these books a few times before. I don’t mean to be boring, but I feel they are such a fascinating and valuable addition to any home library. Plus they just seem to “fit” with a lot of things that I write about.