Recently, I was reading the book Toughness by Jay Bilas. In it, he tells a story about going to law school and being intimidated because everyone else seemed to show up with more background knowledge than he had. When he expressed his concern to his dad, his dad said, “You don’t get a prize for knowing it first. You get a diploma for knowing it at the end.”
In this case, a simple shift in his mindset made a huge difference for him. Rather than being worried about what he didn’t know, he could focus on what he was going to learn. When we send our kids off to school, whether it’s the first day of kindergarten or we’re dropping them off at college, we need to make sure our child’s attitude reflects our values. Here are 5 attitudes your child needs to take to school.
1. Learn as much as possible each day.
When our kids go to school, it’s very easy for them to focus on outcomes: earning good grades, completing the assignment, maintaining a quality GPA. While doing those things is important, we need to make sure that they are a byproduct of learning and that our kids have an eagerness to learn.
Encourage your child’s attitude: Ask your child what he or she is learning about in class. Focus on the answer and ask follow-up questions. If your kid doesn’t know the answer, spend a few minutes together researching it.
2. It’s good for people to be different.
When our kids go to school, they will meet people who come from different backgrounds who have different experiences, different hobbies, and different ideas. If your kids have the right attitude, learning about others’ differences can be an enriching experience and can allow them to develop an open mind.
Encourage your child’s attitude: Talk to him or her about the differences in people. Display attitudes and actions to show them the value of being different.
3. Be yourself.Talk to your kids about what makes them different, unique, and special.
As our kids are exposed to others, it is important that they maintain a positive belief in themselves. While we want our kids exposed to the positive aspects of others’ differences, we also want them to see the value in their own uniqueness.
Encourage your child’s attitude: Talk to your kids about what makes them different, unique, and special. Be positive about these characteristics so they will have confidence in themselves.
4. Respect and comply with adults, but don’t expect them to be perfect.
This is pretty easy when we send our kids to elementary school. They generally view these teachers as almost perfect. However, as our kids become adolescents, they will start to notice that adults have flaws.
Encourage your child’s attitude: Let your child know that teachers are human and they will make mistakes like everyone else. Also, remind your kid that he or she may not agree with all classroom rules or policies, but the teachers have to deal with a lot of issues beyond the ones the students are aware of.
5. Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness.
Our children will be around many different people in school including older students, younger students, teachers, teachers’ aides, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, lunchroom workers, guidance counselors, and others. All of them are dealing with their own issues.
Encourage your child’s attitude: Make sure your children are prepared to be kind to everyone, whether it is the shy kid who sits behind them on the bus, the custodian who has to clean up spills in the hallway, or the student who seems to spend more time in the principal’s office than in the classroom.
Sound off: How much do you know about your child’s day at school?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is your biggest challenge at school?”