This blog post title definitely caught my eye!
I came across a wonderful article that speaks about the power of a parent to bless their child. I am re-posting this article from the Cultivate Greatness blog. The author of this article lived back in the era of the Great Depression; his words are timeless, and we, as parents, teachers, and counselors would do well to apply these principles as we raise our kids.
Here is Where It Starts:
Do you realize that your child’s success or failure depends on you? The schooling and the religious training your children receive will play an important part in their lives, of course, but the influence they will pick up from living close to you can be and should be one that puts them on the success beam. There are three important principles you can teach your children which will go a long way toward bringing them success and happiness throughout their lives. The first of these is Definiteness of Purpose. This habit should start when the child is very young so that it will become a fixed part of his character.
Not too long ago I was visiting friends whose little boy was playing with tinker toys. He was trying to build a helter-skelter design that soon crumbled to the floor. He began to cry when his understanding mother came to his rescue and asked him what he wanted to build.
“I dunno,” he sobbed, “just something that will stand up.”
“Before you start building,” his mother counseled, “you must know what you want, and you must have a plan to go by. Now, let’s see what you’d like to make.”
After the mother had mentioned several things that could be made from the tinker toys, the youngster decided upon a small house and set to work with great enthusiasm to build it.
“This will take more time and work,” cautioned the boy’s father. “but when you are finished it will stand up, and you will be very proud of what you have done.”
As I was getting ready to leave, the boy jubilantly grabbed me by the hand and asked me to come and look at his house “that wouldn’t fall down.”
“This is so much better than putting something together every which way,” he exclaimed triumphantly.
On my way out to my car, the boy’s father accompanied me. He was an executive in a large national chain store organization, who began as a stock clerk in one of the smaller stores, less than ten years previously. He advanced himself to a vice-presidency by following the habit of definiteness of purpose. “You understand now,” he exclaimed with pride, “why we are leaving no stone unturned in seeing that our boy grows up with a full appreciation of the value of knowing what he wants.”
All though your child’s “when I grow up” years of wanting to be a railroad engineer, a space cadet, or a movie star, inspire in him the faith that he can be a success in whatever he chooses, but tactfully influence him to make a definite decision to work toward some specific definite major purpose in life.
The second success principle you should teach your children is the Habit of Going the Extra Mile — the rendering of useful service beyond the scope of duty. This is a “must” habit without which no one has ever been known to rise to great heights of success in any undertaking. In addition to creating favorable opportunities financially for those who follow this principle, it adds great strength to character and gives on the ability to make friends easily.
Joe and Pete were next-door neighbor sons of unskilled laborers. Neither of their parents was well schooled, but Joe’s folks were wise enough to recognize the value of the habit of Going the Extra Mile, and they taught this to him from early childhood.
Pete’s parents, on the other hand, impressed on him the idea of taking everything he could get without lifting a finger, and he lost no time in making this idea his own.
While his son was growing up, Joe’s father was able to promote himself to a position as foreman, then department manager at his plant by following the habit of rendering more service and better service than he was actually paid for. He instilled this habit in his son.
Throughout grade school and high school Joe was a giving person — sharing generously his time in extra-curricular activities and his possessions. He was constantly going out of his way to make himself liked by both his teachers and his schoolmates. Moreover, his habit of thus Going the Extra Mile gave him great pleasure for he did it in a most pleasing mental attitude.
Meanwhile Pete did as little work as he possibly could to get by. Results, poor grades in school, difficulties with the teachers and his schoolmates, and no participation in athletics because, as he remarked, “There’s no pay in it.” Where did he learn this attitude? From his father who constantly griped about “slave drivers” down at the plant, in the school system, and about everywhere else.
Joe got a scholarship which paid his way through a fine college because of the excellent record he made in high school, and he went on to win high honors in college by continuing to follow the habit of Going the Extra Mile. He never asked, “What do I get out of this?” but, “What can I contribute to help someone out?”
Pete scornfully referred to Joe as “that eager beaver who tries to kill himself doing something for somebody.” But the “eager beaver” did all right for himself. As the result of his college record, he wound up with the offer of a job with a wonderful company right after graduation. He still has the habit of Going the Extra Mile. It has brought him two promotions with increased pay over a number of other young men who began work with the same company when he started. The other young men had as much education was Joe, and they had as much intelligence.
What about Pete? He got a menial job right after he left high school. He moans constantly about Joe’s getting all the breaks. To this day he doesn’t see that Joe promoted himself into the better things of life by GIVING before trying to GET and thereby starting the great law of increasing returns to move in his favor. And Pete’s parents haven’t the slightest ideas that they failed in preparing him for success in life.
The third success principle you should teach your child is the habit of a positive mental attitude. The habit of thinking in terms of things he can do and not in terms of things he cannot do. Henry Ford once said that what he needed most in his business organization were more men who didn’t know anything about the words “it cannot be done.”
Two teen-age girl friends decided to try out for the freshman class play together.
When Nancy told her parents about it, they were very enthusiastic and encouraged her to go right ahead with it.
However, when Joanne told her folks, all she got was negative comments – “Why do you want to waste your time with that? Besides, your voice is too squeaky. And you’ll spend too much time and catch cold in that chilly auditorium. You’ll never learn all those lines, they you’ll make a mistake and be embarrassed forever.”
The poor girl had failed even before she started. Failed because her own parents had sold her a negative “no-can-do” mental attitude.
Nancy tried out for the play. She didn’t get a part, but her positive-minded parents immediately helped her find the seed of an equivalent benefit in her temporary defeat. “Why, this will allow you to spend more time on your sewing for your 4H contest,” soothed her mother. Nancy went on to win second place in the 4H contest, and she grew up to be a poised, serene wife and mother who now has two beautiful children of her own to whom she is teaching the habit of a positive mental attitude.
Joanne didn’t get a part in the play either – but she didn’t even try. Once she did take courage enough to overcome her parents’ wails of doom and try out for the swimming team. When she didn’t make the team all she got from her parents was “I told you so.” Joanne today is a self-centered, withdrawn woman who spends her time and money trying all sorts of medicines to relieve her “aches and pains.” Her negative mental attitude has made of her a confirmed hypochondriac.
If parents think and talk in terms of sickness and poverty and failure, they will pass these states of mind on to their children who, in turn will use them as stumbling blocks to failure throughout life. Think, act and speak in terms of health, affluence, achievement — and give your children steppingstones to success.
Source: Success Unlimited. November 1956, Vol. III, No. XI. Pgs. 36-40.
This blog post title definitely caught my eye!