Don’t encourage children to take the easy way out.
When they choose the undemanding class, avoid working hard for a place on a team or stay with the same group of friends, what are they going to learn?
The familiar is easy. It also doesn’t allow for growth.
The unfamiliar can be difficult and can cause strife.
Admittedly, the struggle is evident.
Time lapse videos of a butterfly transforming from an egg to larva to pupa to adult are both fascinating and difficult to watch. The viewer wants to help with the transformation, all the while knowing that interference could prove damaging.
Standing back and watching the process takes discipline and understanding.
Parents need to have a similar mindset with their children.
It’s hard to watch a child fail at something, but it is rewarding to see how that same child learns from a failed attempt and figures out how to prevent the same thing from happening again.
At least, that’s what we hope happens. It often takes a few tries to get it right, just as it did when we were their age.
Sometimes success is found through a change of mindset.
Recently I was having a conversation with my college-age daughter, and it was nice because it was an actual conversation. We weren’t texting, messaging each other on social media or sending a SnapChat. Although I have discovered that if I send a SnapChat, I receive a quicker response. Text is next. A pick-up from an actual phone call is a last resort.
We usually text before we call.
Her: Um, wait, call you in a minute.
Half-hour later: Phone rings. (At least she calls.)
Anyway, when we finally do get a chance to talk, she’ll occasionally share something about her classes. After all, that’s why she’s in college, right? To take classes and learn?
During this conversation, she told me she has a professional writing class and her professor’s expectations are very high.
My heart soared when I heard that. Writing is a craft that is used in every career, and any opportunity students have to fine-tune it should be taken.
Apparently, though, her professor is assigning more reading, exercises and writing than the professors her friends have for the same class.
OK. So there’s a problem?
I told her to look at this class as an opportunity, that her professor cares enough to cover extra things and to learn as much as she can while in the class.
She politely said she would try to take that approach, and then she changed the subject.
I started to say something else about the class but stopped, realizing that it was time for me to step back and watch the metamorphosis take place.
Maybe I’ll have a handle on this by the time I become a grandparent.
Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail. Send e-mail to her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Lisa_ Prejean.