068: T.E.L.L. when a child has dreams about the future

Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, I heard a 5- or 6-year-old girl tell her grandmother she wanted the cashier’s job when she was older. The grandmother didn’t say a word. The young girl then shared with the cashier, “I want your job when I grow up!” The cashier responded with a grin and questioned, “You do?”

“Yes, you get a lot of money,” the young girl said happily.

The grandmother grabbed the child’s hand and pulled her out of the store along with the bags of groceries. As I was walking past them a minute later, I heard the grandmother say, “Honey, you do not want that job. That is a part-time job for the girl, and she does not get all the money; the store gets the money. The store pays her very little to do that job.”

Let’s pause for a moment and try to think about the ideas flowing through the little girl’s mind. One minute she was excited about a future job, and now she was hearing every reason to not be excited but to question her desire.

In the previous post, I mentioned the idea of mental baby steps or gigantic leaps when interacting with a child (click here to read the post). The above situation is an example of a gigantic mental leap for the young child. The child was given a lot of ideas to process but there was more confusion than certainty in this interaction.

This also is a good example of the adult point of view dominating the interaction (click here to read this post).

When a child is sharing a future goal with you, tell yourself that there is something within that goal that excites the child. LISTEN to the child share the goal. Try and find out what excites the child here and provide a baby step. For example, when the young girl shared being excited about being a cashier, a baby step would be to say something ENCOURAGING, such as, “Well, if you want to be a good cashier, you better learn how to count money.” Tap into the child’s excitement and TEACH her a lesson in counting money later that day. Tell her that you LOVE that she’s thinking about the future and thinking about goals. Use the excitement as an opportunity to T.E.L.L. the child to think and act a certain way that is desirable.

cheerful little girl dreaming on white background
Teach, encourage, listen, and love a child’s dreams!

Similarly, I heard a story about a 14-year-old who dreamed of becoming a vet. Her mother encouraged her to gather information about veterinarian school. Her mom added how important it was for her to start paying better attention in science class.

The next time your child shares something of excitement, tap into the desire and T.E.L.L. your child to learn something beneficial in that moment. Think of interacting with a baby step. The young girl in the opening story may or may not become a cashier in ten or more years. Trying to get a young child to understand something that may or may not happen in the far distant future will more than likely be a gigantic leap. What can you say and do here and now to step the child in the right direction?

Thinking about how children dream reminds me of a story I once heard of the great Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench. He said in elementary school they asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. When he told them a professional baseball player, they laughed. In middle school again he was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said a professional baseball player, and they still laughed.

By the end of high school, they had quit laughing.

Many of our youth have grand dreams at a young age. Tap into this excitement. T.E.L.L. the child about perseverance, discipline, hard work, determination … think of the many possibilities you can focus on to help a child gain stamina and strength in life!

 

About the author of this post:  Denise Forrest, Ph.D.

Denise is a mother of three grown children and has been a teacher to thousands of students.  She is the creator of the TELL message and Founder of TELL Our Children, Inc. Denise also serves K-12 schools as an educational consultant focusing on mathematics education and instructional decisions for student learning. You can contact her by emailing denise@tellourchildren.org.

Focus: Teach, Encourage, Listen, LoveTags: #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #

067: T.E.L.L. a child step by step

Every step in a child’s life journey is a step closer to adulthood. Have you thought about the baby steps that are necessary to develop more mature thoughts and skills?

What are the baby steps for developing traits such as responsibility and perseverance, for example? These traits are learned by experience, taking baby steps along the life journey. Just like the majority of children start by crawling before walking and running, baby steps are also relevant for developing a child’s thoughts and actions.

son crawling in her father's hands on green grass
Teach, encourage, listen and love a child step by step!

When you positively T.E.L.L. a child, you consider the baby steps. Your desire is to move the child one step closer to becoming a healthy resilient adult. You give the child an opportunity to comprehend the thought and skill, one step – or one experience – at a time.

T.E.L.L.ing a child to become responsible, you begin with a crawl. For example, give the child moments to be responsible for one action, one toy, etc., and then T.E.L.L. him or her how well the child took care of doing this one thing. Later, the child can learn to be responsible for cleaning up after playing or after eating. That is, the child can have an opportunity to be responsible for a bigger task and you T.E.L.L. them how well the child took care of doing this task. Eventually, the child will begin to step on his or her own and decide to be responsible on his or her own, and then you notice!

 

 

About the author of this post:  Denise Forrest, Ph.D.

Denise is a mother of three grown children and has been a teacher to thousands of students.  She is the creator of the TELL message and Founder of TELL Our Children, Inc. Denise also serves K-12 schools as an educational consultant focusing on mathematics education and instructional decisions for student learning. You can contact her by emailing denise@tellourchildren.org.

Focus: Teach, Encourage, Listen, LoveTags: #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #