Character and Process. . .

I have been LOVING, L O V I N G listening to Pod-casts recently (NPR, Sermons, Grammer Girl etc.) on my ipod.  I feel late to the party that I’m just now figuring out the whole world of pod-casts, but better late than never.   At Itunes there is a whole universe of free podcasts.  Until about a month ago itunes was Todd’s domain. Not any more!

I do most of my pod-cast listening first thing in the morning.  I load the little guy into our lovely running stroller (thank you Uncle Will and Craigslist!) and off we go.  Little man loves to watch the world go by and feel the wind in his toes (really, he does, his toes are always spread out to catch the wind. .so cute!) and I love to listen to my latest download.   It’s a great hour (or longer) for both of us.

I’ve really been enjoying sermons by Erwin McManus of Mosaic church in LA.  I always find at least one profound nugget of wisdom in every message I listen too.  I wait with eager anticipation for the nugget to come and I always pause the pod-cast and try and memorize the thought before it slips away.  In fact, some of his messages are so good, I’ve come home and listened to the entire thing again with my journal in hand to take notes (I love to take notes, it’s just not super practical with an 8 month old. . .)

The “WOW, that’s great” thought this week had to do with raising kids.  (which I’m sort of committed to for the next 18, at least, years!) Evidentially a study has been done about what makes “experts”, experts.  They found that experts are experts not because of extreme talent, rather because of the amount of time and practice they put into their chosen field.  The study also found that children who are “prodigies” rarely excel in whatever field (music, sports etc) in adulthood.  AND, adults who excel as adults, didn’t show particular skill as children.  OKAY, so here is where it got interesting.  They theorized that the “prodigy” children received so much praise, affirmation and identity from their natural skill, it at some point became too risky for them to continue because they would risk loosing their “identity”.    Tiger Woods is NOT a good example, he is the exception rather than the rule on this,  but Tiger over his career has been willing to scrape all he knew (his natural skill, as a prodigy,) to improve his swing, which took him to the next level, but he had to risk being “not so good” for a while as he took apart his swing to rebuild it into greatness. (I sound like I know something about golf. I watch way too much Golf TV) ANYWAY. . I digress and here is the “WOW”. ..  The point was that children need to be praised for their CHARATER and PROCESS rather than the performance.  Praise on the preformace teaches them that the performance matters.  Whereas praise regarding character  (“I was so proud of you today when you stopped to help the boy from the other team up when he fell”) reinforces character.  “The goal that you kicked today was great.  I could see the time that you spend practicing your kick this week really made the difference.  I’m so proud of the way you practice to improve your skills”, a process compliment reinforce the practice that it takes to succeed.

Fact is, sure, I’d like to raise a successful kid. But I am much more concerned on raising a successful, productive and kind adult.   He’s got (Lord willing) a whole lot more years of living as an adult than he does as a kid.

Isn’t that a great “nugget”? 

Where do you find great sources of inspiration in your life?


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