In my search for some words of wisdom, I stumbled upon the concept of a seven step staircase showcasing the progression of attitude (in the face of challenge) from stubborn refusal to gleeful victory. I’ve had a small version of it posted since the first day of school, but in light of some difficulties we’ve had over the course of some hard lessons, I thought we should turn it into a lesson on it’s own. By the end of it, the kids had fun and I got to reinforce the notion that attitude is everything.
7 Steps to the Right Attitude
Step 1: I won’t do it. Whether it’s intimidation or outright fear, a common reaction to a challenge is refusal to overcome the problem. Empathy really helps here.
Step 2: I can’t do it. This step is rooted in fear and lack of self-confidence. We’ve had success reminding our children of past challenges that seemed insurmountable at first, but were quickly overcome (like riding a two wheeler for the first time).
Step 3: I want to do it. Incentive is everything. Kids won’t finish their dinner? Remind them of the delicious snack that awaits, and suddenly they’ll want to finish. Trying to teach them geography? Incentivize with chocolates.
Step 4: How do I do it? Here is where homeschooling shines. Does your child learn best by reading? Or like our son, does you child absorb information better by incorporating some physical aspect to the lesson? You know your kids. You decide.
Step 5: I’ll try to do it. Your child is armed with knowledge and ready to give it his/her best try. No matter how it goes, the willingness to try is a victory in itself.
Step 6: I can do it! If the challenge is broken up into smaller segments, a small victory is critical in inspiring your little one to move on to bigger challenges. We supervise our kiddos until they demonstrate the ability to apply concepts…then they’re on their own.
Step 7: I will do it! The taste of success is sweet. The smile, the lack of tears, and the parental pride of watching your child overcome a challenge makes this our favorite step of all. With proper incentive (chocolate croissants, anyone?) the sky really is the limit!
Finally, my son, J, offers this reminder:
“When you’re trying, you’re only two steps from VICTORY!”