051: Thinking to value what a child says and does – Part 5

This is the last post exploring how results and actions can be directly related to how we think. If you have not read any of the four previous posts, you can link here to the previous post to determine where you must begin.

In this series you can see there is a connection between actions and results; however, when you think in more depth your daily actions are related to your attitude in the moment, and your attitude can be strongly influenced by your values. The example being used throughout these posts is a conversation I had with some students about getting an “A” in class. That was their result, and the students could easily identify what actions would contribute to getting this result. This opened the conversation to think about and talk about why the students don’t do these actions so they can get an “A.” In other words, what obstacles or challenges got in the way? The majority of reasons could be directly tied to a momentary attitude, or thoughts and feelings in the moment that allowed them to not focus on the actions and results.

For example, “I’m too tired; I don’t feel like it.” Asking what controls their attitude led us to consider values.  If you find value in a situation — in this case education — you will be less likely to have an attitude that stops you from achieving a desired result. If the student values education and learning, the student will have a tendency to show up with an attitude that supports the needed actions for achieving a result. If the student does not explicitly value education and learning, the student may allow his or her attitude to control the action.

As mentioned in the previous post, the good news is values are learned. They are not genetic. A child is not born with values. A child learns what to value depending on life experiences.

Adults can T.E.L.L. — Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love — children to learn empowering values. You can also T.E.L.L. yourself values.

How? By what you feed your mind or what you say to feed the mind of the child. So today the question is: where does the information you feed your mind come from? Is this information empowering your thoughts, values, attitude, actions, and results in life? Or do you feed your mind with limiting ideas that end up influencing your values, attitude, and actions and therefore the results?

When asking students this question, they would talk about the impact of their friends, watching television, school, teachers, parents, books, and church, just to name a few. They would bring up positive and negative influences on the way they think. Some would make a comment about how they need to rethink from where they are feeding their mind.

Now let’s focus on the children in your life. Are you giving them empowering ideas to think about? You identified possible obstacles for achieving the desired result you wish for them; what input will you provide to address these possible challenges? What will you say? What will you do?

Your words and actions, how you Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love them every day and in these critical moments may impact their values, which ultimately may impact whether they achieve the result you wish for them.

There is no guarantee the result will be achieved; however, you can still do your part to T.E.L.L. them. If not you, then who?

In closing, we are interested in hearing your response to these posts about linking results to thoughts. Did you complete the exercises? Please email your responses to us. You will receive feedback!

Within the next weeks we will share the complete responses from the individuals introduced in the beginning of this series: the mother with older children, the mother of a 4-year-old, a father of teenagers, and a mother of an infant and toddler.  Maybe through their responses you can learn more about how you might interact with your child. Yet, the better thing to do is for you to do the exercises. That is how you learn to think in more depth about how your words and actions. What you T.E.L.L. your child every day has an impact on developing values, attitude, actions, and results in life.

word or tag cloud of ethics morals and values words


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050: Thinking to value what a child says and does – Part 4

We are currently exploring how results and actions can be directly related to how we think. In Part 1, you were asked to identify a desired result for you and for a child in your life (link here to review this post). In Part 2, you were asked to identify at least 5 action items that support accomplishing the result (link here to review this post). Part 3 had you identify reasons for not doing the actions, answering the question “What gets in the way?” (link here to review this post).

The reason we want to identify the obstacles is because this helps you realize possible learning opportunities – for yourself and for your child. The moment the obstacles appear and come to mind, that is when you don’t feel like doing the needed action, but you can recognize and redirect your thoughts. You can try and see it from another more empowering point of view, one that will allow you to move toward your desired result.

For example, throughout these posts I have been talking about how I used to do this exercise with some students. The students wanted an “A” in class, and they could explicitly describe the actions needed in order to get this result. However, when we talked about what stopped them, such as being too tired to do homework, I could link how these thoughts are what stopped them from making a better choice. When these challenges appear and are noticed, the student can now recognize it and make a choice. The student could either choose to continue this way (not do homework) and now realize they are not doing the actions needed to achieve the result of getting an “A” in class; OR they can choose to redirect themselves, focus more on the result, and work toward overcoming the obstacle facing them in that moment. When  you recognize this is an obstacle, or challenge, to overcome, that is when more empowering ideas begin to emerge. You need to make a choice.

In these exercises, you also have a desired result in mind for your child. You have some action, or behavior, in mind – at least 5 – that would demonstrate whether your child was achieving this result.  You should also have a list of reasons your child may not do these actions, or act with a certain behavior. Pay attention because these are the obstacles to watch out for. You will be able to recognize them before your child does. These are learning opportunities, the moments you can redirect your child toward a more desirable action and behavior. These are the moments to T.E.L.L. your child: Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love them to know better and make a better choice.

The reason why you want to pay attention and recognize the possible challenge or obstacle in your child is because during childhood these moments are more about attitude.  Attitude is the collection of current thoughts and feelings. It is the student’s attitude that says “I’m too tired to do this homework.”

What impacts a person’s attitude? Values. So in the example with students, if the students valued school and believed education was important for their future, they would be less likely to allow the more limiting attitudes to enter their minds.

What must you or your child value in order to achieve the listed result? Is there a value in education, in learning in new ideas, how you treat people? Is there value in not giving up? What value is there in achieving the result? What values do you want to instill in your child?

The good news is values are learned. They are not genetic. A child is not born with values. A child learns what to value depending on life experiences. Adults can T.E.L.L. – Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love – children to learn empowering values.

word or tag cloud of ethics morals and values words

For now, look at the result you listed for yourself. What is the value associated with this? Why does it matter? Then for the result you listed for your child, why value this result? What value do you want to instill in your child?

The purpose of the current series is to dig deeper in how to develop a mind-set for achieving better results for our children (and ourselves). By doing these exercises –  linking results, actions, and thoughts – we are setting you up to better T.E.L.L. a child and yourself.

In the mean time, realize that with every interaction you are contributing to the child’s mind-set. When you tell a child today, turn it into an opportunity to Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love them. In the long run, your interactions T.E.L.L. the child what to value.

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048: Thinking to value what a child says and does – Part 2

The current series of posts are about linking how you think to how you act. To start this series, you were asked to write down two results, one you wish for yourself and another you wish for a child in your life. You were also asked to write why you wanted this result. If you did not take the time to do this, please consider stopping and doing this first. Link here to read the previous post where the questions are explained.

When I asked caregivers around me to respond to this prompt, in particular the result related to their children, some were very general and others were more specific. Here are some of the responses heard:

“Even though my children are grown, I want my son to gain a better understanding of finances before he graduates from college – budgets, credit cards, etc. I want him to budget his money better and be more aware of his spending and account balances. I want him to understand how credit cards work, and how savings accounts can grow.” She wants this because “I wish I had learned more about these things and had developed the practice when I was his age. To know is one thing, to practice takes learning to another level. I want him to know and practice financial responsibility.”

Caroline, the mother of one daughter, 4, and a contributor to this blog, wants her daughter to grow up knowing how to make decisions for herself, how to assess a situation and how others are responding to it and have the confidence and ability to decide her own way and handle the consequences of her actions. “In short, I would like her to be independent. I would also like her to always be mindful and respectful of others, no matter what.” As for herself, Caroline said the result she wants for herself is more patience in all areas of her life.

Nicole, a mother of two daughters, (3 years old and 18 weeks old) said she wants her daughters to grow up respecting their bodies. She talked about how she wants them to learn to say no to drugs. She wants them to respect bodies also when it comes to sex. 

A father of two children, ages 11 and 13, said he wanted his children to become people who make the world a better place, to realize they are here for a purpose. “I want them to positively affect the lives of others.” When asked why, “because we are all here for a purpose, to serve and make this world a better place.”

Can you relate to any of these desired results? Maybe the result you listed is similar, possibly different.

Let’s continue the exercise. Now look at the result you stated and write down at least five things you would need to do to get that result. That is, make a list of actions that would help you, or your child, achieve this result. For example, when I did this exercise with students, we talked about the result “To get an A” would include action items such as: do homework, pay attention in class, study for tests, ask questions, just to name a few.

I asked the individuals above what action items would support the child achieving this result. Here are five things the mother who talked about finances said:

He would know how much money he needs for fixed and variable expenses each month; he would know what are his variable and fixed costs!

He would track his spending, monitoring where his money is going.

He would open up a savings account and start depositing in it regularly, for example 10 percent of his income.

He would know credit cards are not free money and the balances must be very low – or zero.

He would understand compound interest.

Here are five things Caroline wrote down as action items for her goals for her daughter:

She needs to see others act independently and successfully, those she learns from most often (i.e., the adults in her life).

She needs to learn about consequences, good and bad, both in theory and in reality.

She has to learn what it means to fail.

She needs to understand there is a time to lead and a time to follow

She must be taught good manners and put them to practice daily.

I’m curious to hear what five things, at least five things, you could do to achieve the desired result you listed for yourself. What possible action items would show your child was accomplishing the desired result you listed? (Again, if you haven’t written a result down for yourself and a child, please stop now and do this! Then you can think about at least five action items to achieve these results.)

Transforming, developing a child’s mindset starts with you clarifying the results you wish to develop in your child – as well as in yourself. In this post you are asked to clarify what your desired results mean by clarifying the actions associated with your result.

Clarity is the start of t.e.l.l.ing your child. Through these exercises, you will become aware of being present so you can teach, encourage, listen, and love your child. For now, write down your list of actions to support achieving your results.

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047: Thinking to value what a child says and does – Part 1

When you choose to T.E.L.L. a child, you are choosing to impact a child’s current thinking for the better. It is not important how well you T.E.L.L., but simply that you think about and just try to T.E.L.L. the child. You are trying to teach, encourage, listen, and love so you transform your child’s thoughts for the better. You do this because the child’s thoughts will inform the child’s attitude and values, and a person’s values and attitude dictate actions.

Have you ever seriously considered how your thoughts, your mind-set, determine your actions now and in the future?

I used to do this exercise with students. I would begin by asking them to identify what results they want to accomplish in this class and in another area of life. Typical responses for the class would be “to get an A” or “turn in all assignments” and the other area of life often focused on extracurricular or life circumstance, for instance “become a starter on the team,” “get a major role in the school play,” or “save enough money for college.” As a homework assignment, I would ask the students to write why they wanted this result in 2-3 sentences.

Let’s try this exercise. How about you? What result would you like to accomplish in general? And, in particular, think about a result you would like for a specific child in your life. Write down the result, and write why you want this result in 2-3 sentences.

Get a few sheets of paper to use for this exercise, or maybe you already have a journal you use to record your thoughts. During the next few posts, you’ll record personal thoughts and action points.

Man On Sofa Taking Notes

This week:

1) Write in the day’s date, and list a result you personally are after. Then write why you want this result. What benefits will you gain by accomplishing this? How will it enhance your life? What would happen if you did not accomplish this?

2) List the child – or children – you wish to focus on in this exercise. State the result you would like for the child(ren). Then write why you want this. Why would this result benefit the child now and/or in the future? How will this result enhance the child’s life? What would happen if the child did not accomplish this result?

Commit to reading and completing the posts associated with this exercise. You may also think about inviting three or four friends to do this exercise with you. Invite them to read this Show & T.E.L.L. blog post, as well as other posts. Have a conversation about the results you want – and the results you want for the children in your lives.

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