From the Desk of Kim Thompson

Silverdale Baptist Academy

December 1, 2015

Mistakes to Avoid

I don’t know how we got here so quickly but I think we are well into “the most wonderful time of the year”!! The children are hard at work with Mrs. Shoemaker to prepare for our Christmas program (Dec. 8), and our “Share Your Christmas” food drive is wrapping up. Your children may have told you that the class that brings in the most cans gets the world’s best (easiest, really) substitute teacher for the day. The classroom teacher will get the day off for some Christmas shopping. The students sorta get the day off, too! I love just getting to enjoy them in the classroom. So...hold onto your toboggans because here we go!

I have previously shared with you that we have been going through the book by Dr. Tim Elmore entitled “Twelve Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid” with some of our parents in a Tuesday morning class. We have wrapped up our study and I wanted to share some of our take-aways from the study. Dr. Elmore reminds us of these things:

  1. Don’t forget that the goal in parenting is to release well-adjusted young adults into the world. We must focus on preparing them - not just protecting them. Our well-intentioned over-engagement has had some unintended consequences in the lives of this generation.

  2. We risk too little. Yes, there are real dangers out there, but in our fear, we rob our children of the ability to cope. Taking calculated, normal risk is part of growing up and we must prepare them for a world that will not be risk free.

  3. We rescue too quickly. This generation of young people haven’t developed life skills because adults swoop in and take care of problems for them. We seem to think that “good” parents rescue children from hardship -- but we are really disabling them. When we rescue them from hard work, and consequences, kids learn to play the game and think that sooner or later someone will smooth things over and take care of things for them.

  4. We rave too easily. The self-esteem movement started back in the 80’s. We determined that every kid should feel special regardless. “You’re awesome”. “You’re smart”. “You’re gifted.” Now we are seeing the unintended consequences again. Kids soon learn that anything that plentiful loses its value and they stop believing it or they become addicted to it and can’t perform without it. Let’s rave about their character, their hard work, their persistence and a thousand other virtues that they can develop.

  5. We reward too frequently. More studies are emerging that say when children expect rewards, they actually perform more poorly. When rewards stop, people usually return to the way they acted before the problem began. So don’t reward your kids for everything and certainly not to change their behavior. Reward them for going above and beyond normal expectations.

As Dr. Elmore suggests, we need to worry less about today’s happiness and more about tomorrow’s readiness. Permit them to try on their own and even fail, and then help them see the value of failure. Help them to find pleasure in becoming who they are wired to become. Communicate with your kids that happiness is a byproduct of using their gifts in service to others. Allow them to experience the outcomes of their choices - good or bad. Affirm the qualities that are in your kid’s control, such as honesty or effort, instead of smarts or beauty. Finally, make decisions with a long-term perspective. You are preparing future adults who must be autonomous most of their lives.

Some things to think about today.

For the children’s sake,

Kim Thompson

Elementary Principal

Silverdale Baptist Academy

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