The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt. ~Max Lerner, The Unfinished Country, 1950
The topic of ABC and 123 Summer Picnic this week is encouraging others. It’s a fascinating topic to me. I did a series on this blog about 2 months ago about raising optimistic children, and one of the points of the book was that encouragement is essential while indiscriminate praise can be poisonous to young children. Interestingly, I also read that in original Montessori approach the teachers were not supposed to praise their students in any shape or form, for praise by its nature carries evaluation. It’s almost like in quantum physics – the observer changes the state of the object he/she observes. The teachers in Montessori schools were supposed to guide and help, but not to judge or evaluate.
I will be honest – I am not too good with encouragement vs. praise at home. I am much better at work. My peers often tell me that they appreciate honest feedback and not politically correct set of words designed to “raise morale”. But at home I often go overboard with praise without wanting to. I have an only child – and in my mind she is the prettiest, the smartest, the funniest little girl that ever walked on planet Earth. Of course, I am exaggerating a little bit, but you get the idea. Sometimes the praise of You are so smart! kind just jumps off my lips before I can catch myself. But I am trying to become better for the sake of my daughter. I don’t want her to grow up a praise junkie, and I don’t want her to grow up an anxious child that doesn’t want to try anything new, because she is afraid to fall off her pedestal. I hope that she will want to experiment with things that she is not good at, if she is curious about them.
As always, I am researching the subject :) I picked up the book profiled in this post in the library, and I will review it when I am done reading it. But the main idea of the book in a nutshell is that girls love praise, and should receive it, but praise needs to be wise. I found interesting examples of praise vs. encouragement here:
|Your are the best student I ever had.||You are a fine student. Any teacher will appreciate and enjoy you.|
|You are always on time.||You sure make an effort to be on time.|
|You have the highest score in the class on this exam.|| |
You did very well on this exam.
|I am so proud of you.|| |
You seem to really enjoy learning
|You're the best helper I ever had.|| |
The room looks very neat since you straightened the bookshelves.
My Internet friend, the author of Raising Three Thinkers, introduced me to the works of a very interesting author Alfie Kohn. I will leave you with a great article – Five Reasons to Stop Saying “Good Job!”. I will be trying hard to follow this wise advice.