Monthly Archives: May 2016

Rewarding kids for character…not results

View More: of the most difficult challenges Julia and I face is how in the world do we raise a kid right?  It is SO tough!  When you see other people, you get a million different examples of what to do.  But, even with the best intentions and the greatest plan, living that plan out consistently on a daily basis is exhausting and doesn’t guarantee good results!

One of the things we try to focus on A LOT is teaching Eli to have good character.  It’s a difficult thing to teach…especially to an 8 year old.  When I hear him share about his day with things like, “I told ____ that I was smarter than him because I’m in the gifted program” or I see how he bosses other kids around when playing with them, it makes me cringe.  As we work with him on things, I am constantly reminding myself “remember what YOU were like and the tactless things you said and did when YOU were 8!”  That helps me to have perspective and not get too frustrated, but I don’t want that to prevent us from setting the bar high.

So, one of the things we struggle with is…how do we encourage good character rather than good results.  Whenever Eli accomplishes something good (winning an award, good report card, etc), we always make sure to let him know how proud we are of him.  However, we go out of our way to remind him how much we love him just for who he is…not for whatever he accomplished.  As much as it sounds cliche, I would MUCH rather him get last place in a swim meet having given it his all with a great attitude than get first place and be rude to others or not have tried hard.  Swimming is just swimming, but what I’m concerned about is his HEART, not his results.

I believe by focusing too much on results, that sends the message that WITHOUT the results they are not loved or appreciated.  That tells them, it’s not THEM that you love, but rather it is what they can do.  But character is something that will define them for the rest of their lives.  By nurturing that now, it can be something that stays with them forever.

Recently we had a great day with Eli.  He came home from school with a perfect report card.  Of course, we were excited about it and told him we were proud.  Then, after school he had a tennis lesson.  To give you the background…we’ve had a tough time at tennis lessons recently.  He has been prone to goofing off, not paying attention, and being silly.  IMG_0934This has been frustrating to the coach and us and we’ve been trying to work with Eli on realizing it and making changes.  So on this day, he had a FABULOUS lesson.  He was focused, respectful to the coach, and made an huge effort to be encouraging to the other kids there whenever they were hitting.  After the lesson, the coach specifically mentioned how awesome Eli did and how kind and respectful he was.  We were SO happy!  It gave us such joy to see and hear that.  Later than night, Julia and I decided we wanted to reward him for his amazing day, but rather than do it for the good grades he achieved, we wanted to reward him for the awesome character and behavior he showed at tennis.  So, I left him a note and a pack of Pokemon cards for him to find when he woke up…as a reward for the kindness he showed.

My advice to you:

The next time your kid achieves something good, make sure to praise them.  But, make sure they know that you love them and are proud of them even without that accomplishment.  And when you see them showing good character, try to praise them even more.

What is a Love Tank and how does it affect me?

love-tank-logo-300x297Imagine your wife is holding a large bucket filled to the top with water.  Now imagine that water level is directly correlated to how loved she feels from you…it is her love tank.  That’s awesome because the bucket is totally full!  :-)  She’s happy, you’re happy…everything is awesome!  But, after a bit of time you forget to clean the dishes like you promised and the bucket gets bumped and some of the water splashes out.  That’s ok…there’s still a lot of water in it and she’s still feeling pretty loved.  But, a little later, you let her know that you told the guys you would go out with them…but forgot to make sure she was cool with it.  Uh oh…more water gets knocked out.  Then, you make a comment about an outfit she’s wearing and a bunch of water spills out.  Well…now she’s down to very little water in the bucket.  And remember what the water is correlated with?…how loved she feels!  So, now that her tank is about empty, she’s not feeling the love anymore.  Life’s not so awesome now.

So to fix this, an easy solution is to just tiptoe around life and make sure not to “bump the water bucket”…right????  Just be really careful that you don’t mess anything up and you’ll be good?????  Unfortunately there is one more detail in this love tank.  There are small holes poked in the bottom.  So, even if you don’t knock any water out…it will still slowly disappear.  

Fortunately, you have the ability to replace water in the tank.  You do this by showing your wife love (gifts, service, physical touch, kind words, spending time together…see my previous post for info on 5 love languages if you’re not familiar).  What is it that makes your wife feel loved?  Telling her something you admire about her, going out on a date, cooking dinner for her, buying her a new pair of earrings?  When you do these things, you help put water back in her tank.  

Do you KNOW what fills up your wife’s tank?  Don’t just assume it’s buying her a box of chocolates.  That may not actually mean as much to her as you think.  Sit down and ASK her, “what fills up your love tank?”  It’s an easy question and should be easy for her to answer.  Chances are she will want to know about you also, which is great because…YOU’VE GOT A BUCKET TOO!  The more each of you know about what fills up each other’s love tanks…the better you’ll be able to keep them filled.  

My challenge to you:

Low Bucket Syndrome (or LBS) is a condition that NO ONE wants their wife to have.  Luckily it is 100% preventable by YOU!  In order to prevent, you need to consciously be working on it.  Know what fills her tanks and always be finding ways to fill it up.  Also, it does help if you don’t knock water out.  :-)