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October 27, 2014

Doing is Believing

Image: Flickr/Alba Soler

Image: Flickr/Alba Soler

“Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” (Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson)

Children take your opinion of them as absolute truth. They will develop their self image largely based on the things you believe about them. That can be a very weighty thing to consider — especially since what we say we believe about our children often fails to line up with the way we behave towards them.

Most of us say we believe our children are bright and capable. And yet…we hover over them when they do their homework. We nag them until their chores are done. When we do this, we may be inadvertently communicating that we don’t really believe they’ll do the work well enough. Worse, we may be showing them that we think they’re devious enough to avoid doing what they said they’d do. Sometimes our behavior suggests we believe our children to be irresponsible and careless — which stands in direct contrast to what we often tell them. What do our actions say to our children about what we really believe?

If you can keep the former first lady’s truth in mind and treat your children with a healthy balance of care and respect, they are far more likely to grow up treating themselves and others that way as well. Then, in effect, you’ve made the world a more beautiful place, and that’s something that would make Lady Bird very proud.

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