064: Feeding a child unhealthy food? How about unhealthy thoughts?

Is it not true that our bodies grow weaker if we consistently feed it unhealthy foods? If we feed our bodies trash, aren’t the chances slim that we become stronger and healthier? Isn’t this also true in relationships? If you continuously speak unhealthy, or trashy, with someone, the relationship you have with that person cannot possibly heal and grow stronger.

Now think about this…

Our youth are seeing, hearing, and experiencing a lot of trash these days. Think about some of the Hollywood movies, music, video games, television, social media, or Internet material children are fed on a daily basis. How can they grow stronger unless they see, hear, and experience healthier ideas? This is one of the fundamental reason why adults must begin noticing and practicing T.E.L.L.ing our youth better ideas. There is a lot of trash out there, much more than when many of us were growing up.

Now be honest with yourself: what and how do you speak and act around the children in your life? Do you talk trash or healthier ideas? Speaking trash is not just putting them down. It’s more about the quality of your interactions, the ideas and feelings you share with them. Are the feelings and ideas healthy? Do your interactions cause your relationship to grow stronger and heal internal wounds? Or, is it more trash for the child to process?

Are you T.E.L.L.ing your child better, healthier ideas? Think about what and how you

Teach

Encourage

Listen

Love

The time is now to begin feeding children healthier ideas. It is never too late. The unhealthy trash will always be there. We can either add to it or empower a child to see, hear, and experience stronger, better, and healthier ideas. Start today and T.E.L.L. a child healthier ideas.

If you see value in our Show & T.E.L.L. posts, if you think the message is worthwhile, please help us spread the T.E.L.L. message to more caregivers. Let others know about the Show & T.E.L.L. blog. Talk with others about the message. Help one another practice T.E.L.L.ing the children you see every day. Let us know how we can help. We are here to T.E.L.L. you.

 

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.

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063: Many times we T.E.L.L. best by being quiet

The majority of our posts center on what adults can say and do to best T.E.L.L. a child. At times, saying and doing nothing — just being quiet — is really what is best.

There are several benefits of being quiet:

1.  If you have nothing worthwhile to say, why say anything?  Or similarly, if no one is listening, why speak? Instead, appreciate the silence.

2. Being quiet allows you the opportunity to listen and really learn from someone else. You need to be quiet to really listen.

3. By being quiet, you can gather more facts before you answer. The other person is sharing his or her thoughts and feelings.

4. Being quiet gives you an opportunity to think and reflect on your ideas. You can organize your own thoughts.

5. When we are quiet, it gives you and others a chance to notice other things, more than just the words being spoken.

When you really listen, you must be quiet. To comprehend and gain wisdom requires quiet moments. You T.E.L.L. a child by also being quiet.

 

Today, and over the next few days, try and focus on moments to be quiet. When you are with your child, be quiet and be a better listener so that when you do speak, you contribute to the conversation, you relate your ideas to what the child is saying. Try and be quiet, so you will have something to T.E.L.L. the child.

Also, give yourself a quiet moment to organize your thoughts. “How can I Teach better? How can I Encourage better? How can I Listen better? How can I Love better?”metacognition

 

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.

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028: Whose thinking dominates your interactions?

In Tuesday’s Show & T.E.L.L. post, a mother of a three-year-old talks about one of the reasons interactions between adults and children can fail. In particular, she talked about how an adult point of view may be dominating the conversation. She gave examples about how at times she may be assuming ideas when interacting with her three-year-old. Click here if you want to read her post.

Her post emphasizes how we adults often ignore, or assume, important details when interacting with a younger, less experienced mind. We have a tendency to leave things out. To put it into perspective, think about learning to drive a car. Initially, our focus is on gas pedal or brake; blinker up or down; meanings of the various traffic lights, signs, and lines; speed limit, brake distance, other cars, etc. Many ideas and emotions fill our thoughts as we learn to drive. At some point, we no longer have to think about which pedal is gas, which is brake, what the various signs mean, etc. That is, unless something unexpected happens causing us to recall an idea, like if you later learn to drive a manual and you have to think about the clutch as one of the pedals. Otherwise, many of the initial thoughts about driving a car exit our current perception, and we begin bringing other thoughts to mind as we drive.

In any interaction, individuals share their perception in that moment. Our perception includes thoughts about what we see, hear, and feel in the moment. Perceptions change as we live life. What we perceived in a situation as a five-year-old is certainly different than what we perceive as a teenager or now as an adult. Perceptions change relative to time, place, the knowledge we accumulate along the way, and the emotions we feel. Our children are just beginning their experiences, developing their perceptions. One of my favorite quotes is, “An expert at anything was once a beginner.” It is important for adults to keep this in mind when we are interacting with children. Remember, children are focusing more on the pedals and signals … a beginner at driving their lives.

The previous post focuses on a younger child; however, a friend of mine shared recently how she was so frustrated with her teenage son. “I could talk until I am blue in the face, and…” This could also be an indication that an adult point of view is dominating the conversation! There is a difference in fixing a child’s perception or developing a child’s perception.

Individual interactions may seem like they have but a trifling influence on the long-term perspective of a child. Yet collectively, our daily interactions throughout childhood are exactly what will define the child’s perspectives as they mature toward adulthood. Learning to involve more of our children’s thinking in our interactions with them is critical for the child’s current and future decision-making.

The next time you interact with a child, ask yourself: “Whose thinking dominated this conversation, mine or the child’s?”

 

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023: Think about creating T.E.L.L.ing moments

I am responsible for my words and actions, no one else.

In any interaction, it is easy to rationalize what we say and do. We can always prove we are right saying what we did during a conversation.

Yet the more I learn to Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love, the more I realize how it provides a standard for me to gauge my interactions. These questions often come to mind when interacting with people:

1) How can I T.E.L.L. in this interaction?

2) What am I learning from this interaction? How can my words and actions focus on learning new ideas?

3) Do I feel encouraged or discouraged? How can my words and actions be encouraging?

NOTE: When I am not sure how to encourage or if I feel discouraged, I remain silent until I have a T.E.L.L.ing thought to share.

4) How are we listening? Do I feel heard? How can my words and actions show I am curious to hear the other person’s point of view? NOTE: When my point of view is not of interest, that is, the other person just wants to tell me what he or she thinks, I remain silent until I have a T.E.L.L.ing thought to share.

I cannot control what others say and do in an interaction, I can only do my part to T.E.L.L. I must keep my thoughts and actions focused on T.E.L.L.ing thoughts. I am responsible for my words and actions, no one else.

The more you reflect on T.E.L.L.ing interactions, the easier it becomes to apply and practice these principles. Try the next time you are having an interesting conversation to pause and ask  “How are they T.E.L.L.ing me? How am I T.E.L.L.ing them?” Think of one or two ideas that either made the interaction T.E.L.L.ing for both of you, or one or two ideas that you could do better next time.

It’s a process, one T.E.L.L.ing moment at a time.

 

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