Soccer moms - yikes ! As soon as I say that, it conjures up an image of a hyper-competitive mom, racing around in her minivan from one practice to another and yelling at the coaches if her kids don't play enough. We live in a very competitive world. That's good - and it's bad. When I talk about extraordinary kids, I don't mean raising the next quarterback for Notre Dame or the next Beethoven.
If your kids have a passion for music or sports or anything, then by all means give them every opportunity to enjoy it and become really good at it. But how many people end up playing in the Super Bowl? An extraordinary child is one that fulfills his or her potential, whatever that might be. Competition is good.
It spurs a young man or a young woman on to do her best. Competition is about you besting your own best record. It's with yourself and that's what you need to teach your kids. Some of the greatest athletes in the country are people that you and I have never heard about, because they didn't make it into the pros. Some truly talented musicians frequently plan only for themselves or their life partner.
Whether their lives are successful or not, only they know. Extraordinary children are the ones who go on to live healthy, well-balanced, successful lives. So much of our culture attempts to teach our children that success is about getting your face on TV like Paris Hilton, or having lots of money to buy things you don't even need, like Bling. An extraordinary child can see those messages for what they are. Foolish.
If you want your child to be extraordinary then you can't do what everyone else does. Just like everything else about parenting, nurturing children takes time. It's not a one shot deal. You are building the foundation slowly, one brick at a time. Turn off the tube. There's a reason they call it the idiot box.
It's also been referred to as the opiate of the masses. Extraordinary people are not one of the masses; they are unique individual who have discovered the details of themselves. Television has become such a given that few of us can live without it.
We have them in our house and we do watch them. But limit what your children watch. Limit the time they spend in front of the TV, and limit which programs they watch.
Do they really need to be watching shows on MTV that glorify how much money rockers waste on Bling? I have a friend who is thirty four years old and makes over a half million dollars a year working out of her home running two businesses she started a few years ago. She told me she has a TV. She just didn't bother to hook it up when she moved into her new condo, and that was sixteen months ago.
If your kids are young, try playing board games with them or make up your own games. If your kids are older, just sit and talk with them; or sit with them as well as all their friends and just have a conversation. You may have to do this in small doses to wean them from the TV. TV limits are a good idea. For the same reasons as above, be sure to keep the computer out in a semi-public area of your house so that you can walk by at any time to see what your kids are looking at.
It's really wise to set limitations when it comes to the internet and to watch them carefully to be sure they are following what you've dictated. My daughter, Sarah, and I had lunch the other day. Sarah was talking about two of her high school friends who had been real lovers of animals - horses specifically. They actually raised horses, took care of those horses, and had animals that they entered into County Fair competitions. Sarah told me how she always thought those girls were the two coolest girls she knew, not because they were the most popular. They weren't.
They were just ordinary kids who were more interested in doing what was meaningful to them than they were in pursing artificial things like popularity. One of those girls is now a veterinarian. This young lady is a keen example of a exceptional young firl.
She is not extraordinary because she's a veterinarian. She's extraordinary because her childhood allowed her to discover that being a veterinarian is perfect for her. Alternative activities other than TV and the Internet make for extraordinary children.
Len Stauffenger's parents taught him life's simple wisdom. As a divorced dad, he wanted to share that simple wisdom with his girls. "Getting Over It: Wisdom for Divorced Parents", his book, is the solution. Len is a Reiki Master, an author, a Success Coach and an Attorney. http://www.wisdomfordivorcedparents.com