No Moving Targets

It was a fine summer day.  Troy carefully wore his goggles and excitedly shouted “Mom, I’ll swim to you!” I happily obliged and moved farther. Then he said “Not so far, Mom!” So I moved closer to him and said “Okay, this is good. Now swim to me!” As Troy started swimming, I saw how good he is after two summers of swimming lessons. So I started to inch myself farther and then some. He eventually caught me.  When he looked up, he said “Mom, you moved!” Eeps. Yes, I did.

My friend Candy recently shared an article from the Straits Times entitled Giving Bright Kids a Head Start.  The article talked about a successful mom from Singapore, Pamela Lim, who raised five very successful children.  She shared a lot of interesting insights on parenting but one of her statements caught my attention.  She said [on homework] "No moving targets.  If they finish the agreed pages, I don't push them to do just a little bit more. Trust is hard to earn back once it's lost."  It was an eye opener for me.  Sometimes we tend to push our kids to do more when we feel they are capable.  Though our intention is to help them excel further, it may sometimes be counter-productive.  When we have already set goals for them, we should not change the goals as they progress. Very much like my swimming story, it does not always build confidence. And more often than not, it simply destroys trust.

Don't we often do the same in a lot of our daily activites? During mealtime, we often see parents say "Last 2 spoonfulls then you're done!". But when the last spoon goes in, the parent would sometimes go further by saying "Konti nalang! How about one super last one?"  We try to push their limits. We make our targets move.  

Isn't building trust more important than that one last spoonfull or those few inches further in the swimming pool? From today onwards, I will do my best to fix my targets.  No more moving targets in our family. Our children's trust in us is far more important.

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