Parents, Are You a Chipper or a Sculptor, Part 2
Parents have a huge responsibility. We are responsible for the next generation, the future of our society. The relationships we build with our children will shape the world in which we grow old. The unspoken values we pass on to our children will impact how future generations interact, resolve conflict, and share resources. The subtle ways we treat our children will determine how they view themselves and how they treat others. So, I have to ask: Are you a chipper or a sculptor? Do you carelessly chip away at your children and our future? Or, do you carefully sculpt your children in an effort to bring forth their inner strength and virtues? Part 1 of this article discussed the impact of a chipper on our children and our future. What are sculptors like?
- Sculptors strengthen children’s sense of value by becoming students of their children. They are intensely curious about their children and seek to learn the intent and motive behind their children’s behavior. As a result, sculptors take the time to listen and learn as well as discipline and teach. They discipline inappropriate behavior while teaching alternative and more appropriate behaviors. As parents learn about their children, their children feel valued. They come to see themselves as valuable. They become more willing to let themselves be known and heard. As a result, parent-child relationships grow more intimate.
- Sculptors forge children who feel competent and capable. They do this with the fires of appreciation and acknowledgement. When a sculptor sees some positive intent or good motive, he appreciates it. He acknowledges that good intent. In response, children increase their tendency to act upon positive intent and good motives. Appreciating and acknowledging positive behaviors also informs children they are competent. Children who are appreciated and acknowledged come to see themselves as capable of achieving and making independent decisions.
- Sculptors shape respectful behaviors. This shaping process begins with a description of any problem behavior that arises…and problem behaviors will arise. Describing children’s problem behavior separates the behavior from the children’s character. Describing the problem behavior informs children that you saw the problem behavior. They did not “get away with it.” There may be consequences. Along with the consequences, sculptors teach alternative, more positive behaviors to use in response to similar situations arising in the future.
- Sculptors expand children awareness by pointing out the impact of their problem behavior on other people. Doing so teaches children to be aware of other people and their impact on them. It teaches them to think about others before acting. It teaches them to be respectful of others.
- Sculptors produce resilient children by encouraging effort. Encouragement of effort becomes the internal dialogue of a sculptor’s child. As a result, children of sculptors can recover from failed attempts. They learn from these attempts and jump at the opportunity to “try again.” These children also learn to encourage others. They come to believe that success is a result of effort and there is enough success for everyone, no need to feel jealous. So, they encourage other people’s efforts and rejoice with those who rejoice.
Consider the future created by sculptors. Children grow up feeling competent. They have learned how to be respectful and aware of others. Their relationships flourish as they take other people into consideration before acting. At the same time, they are comfortable achieving and love to try new things. They seek out new opportunities, innovation, and progress. When others succeed, they celebrate. When they succeed, they share. Relationships grow more intimate as verbal communication is filled with appreciation, acknowledgement, and encouragement. This is a much more inviting future than the future created by chippers. So, I ask again: Are you a chipper or a sculptor when it comes to parenting?