As a grown up, what kind of feedback would you like from someone whose opinion means a lot to you? Sure we would like our bosses to come across with more cash, but that’s not always what we “need“. A well placed “Hey I noticed that you did a good job” can serve better than a dollar bill and it will serve longer. We know that pay adjustments are great, they make us happy, at least until the next check comes, then it’s all the same. Feeling fulfilled…..over. We will operate the same as before the pay raise because the tangible payoff was a temporary satisfaction. But if your boss told you every few days how valuable you are or how great you’re doing (and a raise), you would come to work the next day with renewed energy, feeling refreshed, you would be ready to prove to the boss again, that you are worthy. You are exactly what the boss said you were.
But that’s us as grown-ups. What about us, as parents? Do we realize that a child seeks a “pay-check” just like we do? We have to know that our children are looking for us to approve of them. Approve of their grades, their musical ability, their gymnastics, their artwork, or their efforts in general on whatever they choose to pursue. Our feedback needs to be positive and immediate. When they bring up their mistakes, and they will, we need to listen and be sure that we resist the urge to jump on the pity bus. Maybe responding with “yeah maybe, but I really liked….(details here)” would serve the purpose better. We have to reinforce the important lesson as well; persistence, effort, discipline, integrity and character are what is most important. It’s not the medal, or the score. It’s not being the star of the meet or game; it’s being your star. This is also an opportune time to help a child understand goals and goal setting: maybe help them think through their plan to make their play and their efforts more productive, being careful not to assume the role of the coach. (parents usurping the coach is a whole other article). It’s critical that everyone knows their role in these matters. Coaches should coach and parents should parent. One of the best parts about an activity like what Gymfinity offers is that it’s such an opportunity for the parent/child relationship to be strengthened, if you let it be. Remember that it’s not the rank, the score or the medal that counts: It’s the smile; inside and out.