In my work with parents and teachers I hear lots of complaints about the “new generation”. Adults seem to think that “children these days are selfish, materialistic, impulsive and have no respect”. This makes me really worried. Not because kids today are like that but because the older generation, my generation, holds on to these thoughts. In life, we get what we focus on.
The rules of the self fulfilling prophecy claim that whenever you treat someone in a certain way, you will eventually make them behave like that. So, if the new generation is treated like they are disrespectful, selfish, materialist and impulsive, they will eventually be like that. In other word, you see the world through the lenses you put on. If you want to change what you see, change your lenses.
This part of “Know Your Partner” shares more important questions for your relationship – on education, leisure, travel and vacations, holidays and birthdays. In the last few parts of this series I explained the importance of getting to know your partner before deciding to move in together, get married or have kids. I shared questions about relationships, every day life, family background, friends, appearance, work, money and health.
Remember not to judge your partner’s answers. Use this exercise to examine your own judgment and maybe change it if it is not working for you. The point is not to find every tiny thing that does not fit perfectly into your plan for the future. This exercise is only meant to help you learn about yourself and your partner, and find out the most important things that you and/or your partner do not think you can compromise on.
National Teacher Appreciation Day was this week on May 7 2013. This is a wonderful idea. Teachers deserve much more appreciation than they currently receive.
Teaching and education are the tool and the outcome in a student’s life. Much like the artist uses a brush to paint. The teacher is the artist, teaching is the brush and education is the finished canvas.
Teaching has been my journey for the last 27 years. I am not a school teacher any more but I still consider myself an educator. I teach, I coach, I present, I motivate, I do public speaking, I write, I do community work and in all those things I educate kids and grownups to find the gift they have inside let it shine.
Welcome to the third installment of “Know Your Partner”. In this series war are talking about questions you and your partner should discuss before you move in together, get married or have kids. These questions will help you find your partner’s “musts”. To read more about “musts”, check out Know Your Partner: Musts. In the last post in the series, we listed questions about relationships, every day life, family background and friends. This post covers questions about appearance, work, money and health.
Even though this video was about how cute animals are, I could not help thinking how wonderful the big dog was at encouraging the little puppy to try something it thought was too hard. It did not bark, it did not push, it did not show disappointment. It simply let by example. It did not give up when it did not work the first time, or even the first three ties. It kept doing it again and again, until the puppy was confident enough to try it for himself.
Parenting is the same. When we want our kids to do things that they are afraid to do, we need to show them how we do it. Again and again. Without shouting, telling them they are small and unable, calling them names or showing disappointment. We do not even need to push them to do the things they cannot do, do not want to do, or are afraid to do. We need to lead by example. Again and again. Until our kids are confident enough to do it themselves.
Last week, we talked about how every person has “musts”, things they absolutely cannot live without. It is important for each person in a couple to know their partner’s “musts” before they decide to move in together, to get married or to have kids. This week, I thought I would give you a list of questions to help you along your journey. This list includes questions about relationships, everyday life, family background and friends.
This list is very important to use in different relationship situations:
Before moving in with someone.
Before deciding to have kids.
On anniversaries – in order to update each other about the ways we have changed.
When experiencing relationship conflict.
Before making the decision to break up a partnership.
There are a few rules to remember when asking these questions. This will make the question and answer process more effective and successful:
I learnt about Down Syndrome first hand during my first year of university. I was working with a child with Down Syndrome during my work experience. At first, it was scary and I felt devastated. After getting to know the kid, I learned that he was no different than any other child with intellectual difficulties. To my greatest surprise, he improved quickly and learned a lot. It made me wonder how far we could go. I had my doubts when he did not get things the first time around, but he taught me that as long as I continued to teach him, he would continue to learn.
This experience, coupled with my work on a project about creative thinking (where we tried to teach physics to grade 1 students), taught me that too often we limit kids by our expectations. If we allow them to move forward at their own pace, they will exceed our highest expectations.
Any relationship is a form of agreement between two or more people. The deeper the relationship, the more things you will need to agree on for your relationship to stay positive. Some relationships, like marriage and having children together, are more important than others. They have a huge impact on our lives and our futures. I call them love agreements.
Love agreements will change over time. Just how they change will depend on the circumstances. Each person changes within themselves and their agreements with each other change accordingly. For couples, it is very important for each side to make sure they are “sailing in the same direction”. While each of them may change in different ways, together, they want to be going the same way. If one wants to sail north and the other’s greatest desire is to sail south, then their relationship will suffer. One or both of them will have to compromise.
When we talk about relationships, the word compromise pops up as a desired outcome. I think compromise is important, but I also believe that some compromises cannot last for very long. They are often the source of conflict and can cause much heartache.
Human behavior was always something that fascinated me. During my studies I learned about the difference between what people think they do and what they actually do. Since then I have been hooked. You see, when we are under pressure, we react differently to when we have time to think, analyze and react at our own pace.
Some people say that under pressure, we reveal our true selves. Others think it is the opposite – we are ourselves all the time and the ugly side of us comes out when we are pushed. I tend to think that when we are under pressure, our reptilian brain, the one in charge of “fight or flight”, takes over. Like a survival mechanism, we react instinctively to protect ourselves when we are stressed or we think we are in danger (whether that danger is real or perceived).
Often times, we see other people’s poor behavior and say, “Oh, I would have done it differently. I would have done such and such and I would have said so and so”. The truth is, we can speculate about what we might have said until we are blue in the face but until we are in a stressful situation, we will not know how we will react.
In my last few posts on human needs, we talked about how people have needs for certainty, variety, significance, love & connection and growth. The last need left for us to discuss is contribution. If we think of our needs in pairs, growth and contribution go together. These two needs usually appear last, after we have found ways of attaining the other four needs.
Unlike some of the other needs, growth and contribution are not in conflict with each other. They do not need to be in balance. Rather, the more we have of one, the more we have of the other one.
In the last chapter, I gave some examples to increase personal growth. In this chapter, I will cover examples to improve contribution.
Contribution is any act or intention to act that improves the position of others. It can be a physical improvement or even an emotional improvement. If the interaction has made the other person feel better, even in a small way, you have contributed to someone else’s life.