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.
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.
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.
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.
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.