We can all take cues about our best selves and who we want to be from our heroes. We learn and hopefully emulate those we admire most.
For you, it might be a teacher or a trusted grandparent. Think about it – who is your hero?
For me, I can learn an awful lot not from one individual alone, but a team of them – the Clemson Tigers.
One of the unexpected blessings of my life, in many ways large and small, has been my own experience living with ADHD. It has given me invaluable perspective, the kind that I could never obtain from a book alone, on how to approach the condition with effective encouragement and education. I know from my own firsthand experience, for example, that I have no hope of paying attention through a lengthy presentation with dozens of PowerPoint slides. (It always surprises me how many ADHD-focused conferences don’t take attention span into account in their sessions!)
On the other hand, my attention is held rapt when the Clemson Tigers are playing. It’s not just because I’m a football fan, but because of the personal example that the team sets for excellence both in character and on the field.
I vividly recall the beginning of the 2016 season, when virtually everyone seemed to count the team out. The consensus view was that they didn’t have a prayer. (You can even find a YouTube mash-up today online showing countless commentators writing them off – these turned out to be some bad predictions!) But against the odds, the team went on to win the national championship.
How did they do it when stacked against so many formidable teams? As their head coach described it, “No one believed in these guys. But I did, and they believed in each other!”
That nails it. What made the difference for the team? A leader and mentor believed in them, inspired them to believe in themselves, and laid out a strategy they could execute. Instead of dwelling on the losses of the previous season, they learned from their mistakes and did what it took to improve on their performance. Fueled by a vision of what is possible, the team went on to win the national title again in 2019, cementing their reputation for excellence.
Ask yourself – are you acting as the same type of coach for your child? Do they feel like you believe in them despite what might seem like long odds?
Motivating with Emotions
Our children primarily hear our messages through the emotions we send. The words are less important. An empty motivational speech that isn’t rooted in authentic support or belief in them will ring transparently false. Remember that our kids are always listening not only to what we say, but how we say it.
A great coach leads with their emotion – making it clear that they believe in their team. How do your emotions get shared with your kids? Do they believe you are backing them up like a great coach would?