Careful What You Say Because It Affects Everything

For those raising kids, especially those with teenagers, I think you’ll appreciate this week’s post. My daughter Abigail is 14 years old, a very typical teenager in most ways. She’s very athletically gifted, far more than she realizes. She learned to swim at just two and a half years old and was on the swim team by the time she was six. She did quite well until she decided getting in a cold pool at 8 a.m. wasn’t any fun. She already has her black belt in taekwondo and more recently tried out for and made a club volleyball team. I watch her and I know she can be anything she wants to be, do anything she wants to do. There’s only one thing in life that can hold her back – Abigail.

Like most teens, left to her own devices she’d spend all day at the mall, watching television, chatting on Facebook, checking out YouTube videos or texting friends. She’s also no different when it comes to homework or practice…she’d rather do anything but! My dilemma, like every other parent, is this – how do I get her to do what I know is best for her?

There’s a quote from former Dallas Cowboy football coach Tom Landry that went something like this, “My job is to get men to do the things they don’t want to do so they can accomplish what they’ve always wanted to accomplish.” That could be the job description for a parent. We want to help our kids be ready to successfully fly the nest.
I’m trying to teach Abigail a lesson we’d all do well to remember; our attitude affects everything. I’m not so old that I can’t remember wanting to do things other than homework or go to practice. But I have an advantage she doesn’t have, three more decades of experience under my belt. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is this, where I choose to place my thoughts and the words that come out of my mouth impact how I feel and ultimately behave.
Parents, haven’t you heard this, “I don’t want to go to practice. I’m tired and its boring.” Or what about this, “I hate school.” I know a few well place questions reveal it’s not school she dislikes, it’s the homework. She likes lunch, recess, certain subjects, her friends and going to sporting events. Like I said, she pretty much likes everything but the homework. Perhaps you’re thinking about something you don’t like. Your job? Your significant other? Maybe a neighbor or boss? We all have things or people we’d say we don’t like and yet, there are probably some aspects of the person or things that aren’t so bad.As adults we know this truth; throughout life we will have to do things we’d rather not do and deal with people we’d rather not be around. Let’s take a task for example, maybe cutting the grass or some work around the house. If we approach the chore focusing only on how much we dislike it we’ll never put much effort in and only prolong our pain as we drag our feet and take longer than is necessary.
Oh, how I want her to understand this! I know she’d enjoy life more, do a better job and finish up the things she doesn’t like so much so she could move on to what she really enjoys. Too often we have to learn the hard way and much too much time passes by. Maybe that will be the case for her or maybe through repetition peppered with some good influence techniques I’ll get through to her. I hear people say when kids are young they think mom and dad are the smartest people in the world. When they become teenagers they become the smartest people in the world and we’re relegated to the status of “dumb.” But something happens and they grow up and come to realize their parents were actually pretty smart. After all, they think how could their parents have raised such a great person if they didn’t have some smarts. I look forward to that day but in the meantime I’ll keep sharing what I know to be true, and what’s in her best interest because I love her.Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”
4 replies
  1. Paul Hebert
    Paul Hebert says:

    Great post Brian – the Landry quote was worth the price of admission. I'm sure you're using all your influence techniques. As I'm sure you're aware – reframing the negative into a positive and connecting to their desires is the way to go. Like I tell my kids… one hour of lawn mowing is really 6 hours of free time – not a bad trade eh?

  2. Brian
    Brian says:

    Glad you liked it Paul. I heard the Tom Landry quote about 20 years ago…and it stuck! Part of my influence on the lawn was buying a self-propelled mower. It doesn't much easier than that!

  3. Admin
    Admin says:

    Yes. This is true. Little things people say can really affect people's feelings. We had no idea how people react around us especially teens. They become much affected when their parents say something bad. They tend to take it seriously.


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