(and why we should give it - to everyone, every time we can)
Once upon a time, a parent of a student of mine incessantly fussed and complained plum up to high heaven because her young son was so disorganized. She nagged at him about his messy room every night ‘til the cows came home. She also harped about his handwriting, his grammar, and even the way he walked across the floor.
This well-intentioned but misguided parent told me, “I’ve got to correct his bad behaviors now, Mr. T. So I’m gonna punish him again and again, for as long as it takes, harder and harder, until he gets it right.”
Raise your hand and hold your breath if you think all this punishment had any long-term effect on changing the child’s behavior. (Just don’t hold your breath too long.)
Oh, if only this mother had turned all that “negative” energy into something positive - like bragging on her son’s remarkable ability to still love his mother, no matter how much she incessantly harped and nagged about every little thing he did “wrong”. What an amazing change regarding his “bad” behaviors she may have ultimately found.
Instead of focusing so much time, energy and humiliation on “changing” the perceived weaknesses of others, why do we not just “accept” these things as part of who they are? Then we can throw much more time and energy toward building on whatever their strengths may be instead.
If I had a “secret” to reaching the children I taught, it was this: I gave grace to them all. Unconditionally. 100% of the time. No exceptions were made.
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