Lately there’s been much talk about job uncertainty in the future economy. Experts are predicting that with the age of digitisations, robots and AI will soon take over our jobs and it’s a scary prospect for us and our children. From time to time, this grim reminder pops up on the news and the smart nation ad where it states that 5 millions jobs will disappear in the year 2020. *Gulp*
I’ll be lying if I said that I not in the least bit worried about the inevitable as the world changes.
But I know that I’m also not helpless about it as there are opportunities for me to unlearn and relearn to keep myself relevant in the ever changing workplace that calls for people who are adaptable, nimble and are lifelong learners. In short, a person who never says die but I’m willing to try.
Try something different, try something new and try something you’ve never done before.
And as a parent, this is an important mindset that I want my daughter to be equipped with.
At the start of the year, I pinned up motivational quotes and visual reminders of what it means to have a growth mindset for Sophie on her notice board. I’m big on inspirational quotes and I believe that positive reinforcement helps to shape our thinking and behaviour. At 8 years old, I want her to learn to take personal responsibility of her own learning and to have a positive attitude towards learning.
Since she was so hot about the song, Try Everything, by Shakira from the movie Zootopia, I printed the lyrics and she made it her theme song for the year. Sounds promising doesn’t it?
After all, a self motivated child is every parent’s answered prayer because God knows the frustrations that comes with trying to motivate a child with pep talks, rewards and even punishment when all else fails.
But less than 2 months in the year, Sophie threw in the towel and got tired of trying. It’s fine by me if she can’t do something that she’s not learnt yet. But it’s her nonchalant attitude when she simply goes, “I don’t know”, without even trying and expecting to be fed the answers that got me so riled up. So much for teaching her about having a growth mindset and where’s that try everything attitude that she promised.
I ranted about it on Facebook and said that all I’m asking for her is to try. Turned out I was not alone as many parents had similar struggles with their kids.
So as a parent, what are we to do?
The first thing is not to throw our hands up in the air and give up on our kids. It can be tempting but it’s not the best way to model the kind of behavior we are trying to correct here. And remember to do it with encouragement and love.
It can be tricky to find the balance between stretching our kids abilities and pushing them and only you know the kind of prompting that your kids respond best to.
Life doesn’t require that we be the best. Only that we try our best.
I had a few pep talks with Sophie about it during our heart to heart talk before bedtime and I assured her that there’s no shame in getting the wrong answers. After all, what matter most is that she gave it her best shot.
When we walk through her mistakes, I would point out the efforts that she’s taken to help her see that progress can be recognized in different ways. We also talked about having a right attitude toward learning, one that has a spirit of excellence which pleases God and we even commit it to God in prayer.
The improvement in her attitude has been very encouraging and I thank God for answered prayers. And I can that when she feels secure to try even if it means getting the first attempt wrong , she’s now one step to discovering the right answer. Between grades and character, we all know which matters more and as parents how we mould them in their youth will shape who they are in future. Let’s raise kids who are determined and not beaten easily even if they fail.
What are some of your frustrations when your kids are unmotivated to try and how do you encourage them? I would love to hear from you too
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