You want your kids to be successful, which is fine. All parents, including me, wish that for their children. Sometimes, perhaps, we wish it too much.
Because there is a better goal for them than what the world labels as success: Excellence.
Understanding How Kids Achieve Excellence
Your kids can live a life of excellence.
It’s not something they have to be born with, and it is not reserved for a privileged few. Excellence is a goal they can achieve if they are willing to focus and work hard to get there.
To achieve personal excellence, they must acquire knowledge and experience to become competent at what they do. This will give them confidence to be the best they can be and, in so doing, fulfill their God-given potential in life.
Competence means knowing how to handle situations effectively. Confidence is developing belief in one’s own abilities. Along with perseverance and hard work, they form the path to excellence.
Can parents help their kids learn how to achieve excellence? Yes, they can. At times, it will require a proactive parenting approach. At other moments, it will mean just getting out of their way.
Your role is to help them develop three critical habits:
1. Be a Doer
Help them become involved in life rather than being only an observer.
Let them know they don’t have to be good at everything. Participation and enjoyment are what is important at an early age, and that will also help them separate their self-image from their performance. Keep the focus on progress and not perfection.
As they get older, encourage them to invest in activities they like so they can become proficient. In those areas, inspire them to become the best they can be, and help them enjoy the process.
Let them experience that practice and improvement, over time, lead to competence. Show them that working hard is part of a healthy and happy life, and that doing their best is key to excellence.
2. Be a Learner
Similarly, make learning enjoyable to them starting at an early age. Read to them, work with them on activities, participate in their practices, and help them experience learning as fun.
Help them understand the importance of being teachable, to listen to those with knowledge, and to appreciate teachers and mentors. Let them come to see that learning to learn is a critical life skill.
Understand that many kids today learn differently than we did growing up. They often learn interactively, by just getting started or jumping into an app on their smart phone rather than studying an instruction book. That’s okay, as long as they develop a love of learning.
Knowledge and experience will lead to competence, which will help them build confidence. If they are eager to learn and willing to improve, their opportunities in life will become limitless.
3. Be a Planner
Teach them the power of preparation and planning. Talk to them about being intentional with their choices, and help them spend time each day on things they choose, and things that matter.
Initially, it can be a simple process. Help them pick one or two goals they would be willing to pursue for the next few months, and lay out a few activities to make progress in those areas. Later, coach them to build a plan for their school work or for practicing a sport or activity.
Most people wander through life without much direction. That is the road to mediocrity. If your kids will set goals and take small steps forward each day, they will eventually achieve excellence.
Spiritual wisdom and emotional well-being are critical for your kids’ balanced development. Personal excellence is the third part of a proactive parenting plan to help them become the best they can be in order to achieve their God-given potential.
Do you want your kids to be successful? Then, don’t teach them to focus all their energy on chasing after success. Instead, help them develop the habits to achieve excellence.
Question: Is there at least one area where your kids are working to become competent?
Action: Pick an activity your kid likes and do it with them as often as you can.