[Welcome to a re-post from my writing at Sidelines. Enjoy!]
In this era of supreme convenience, marked by lightning-quick technology that provides instant gratification, heralded by parents preferring to drive a half-mile away to a store rather than bike the distance (or God forbid, walk it), and exacerbated by a dearth of experiences that many children go through either in the classroom or at home that teach them persistence or instill in them stamina, the question remains:
How do we cultivate a “Can Do” attitude in our kids?
I’m finding that the nature vs. nurture debate has little place in this conversation, although I’m sure someone will disagree. With seven of my own and all with the same mix of heritage, same genetic cocktail, same two parents, each of them displays a totally different attitude (as well as a totally different predisposition to tears!) when it comes to showing us they have that “grit”, that “stick-to-itiveness” to hang in there when the going gets tough and you have to fight for your dreams.
I can honestly say my kids are all good at dreaming, constructing goals, and hanging in there, but Man, it’s an uphill battle with some of them sometimes, although “Can Do” usually wins, thank goodness. I usually find another silver strand in my hair as my trophy after that battle, however. My sometimes not-so-secret worry is that, if our community experienced a disaster, would my children each have the grit to survive. Several would, but I worry about the others. (I have a handwritten reminder on the fridge right now about this, called my “survival training list.” It’s been there several weeks, JUST because this has been on my mind.)
So what do I do personally to cultivate this attitude? Lots of talking things up. Lots of “I remember when”s and “Your great-grandmother used to do THIS when THAT happened.” Lots of “You can do it!” Lots of prayer and supplication. Lots of blackberry pomegranate tea, or a glass of merlot on the front porch at the end of the day.
And I model it. I model it every day and every night. I look for role models to point out examples, and then I model it some more. I model it so much that I get loudly exhausted trying to model, and I occasionally end up fussing at the end of that exhausting day that “I shouldn’t have to model it!! You should know by now how to have a ‘Can Do’ attitude!!!”
But no, kids need constant modeling, even grown ones. So I keep blackberry pomegranate tea and merlot on hand, just in case exhaustion hits again. Then I say a prayer at night, and expect to do it again the next day until one day, when I’m finally old, I see the results in each of them.
What do you do? How do you cultivate a “Can Do” Attitude in your kids?