Having kids has been life changing for me. It’s been such an amazing journey that I am so grateful for. I realize that as a parent it’s my responsibility to prepare my kids to enter a world where they will face many challenges and ups and downs. I would be a complete failure in life if I was unable to help equip my boys with the proper mindset that they can achieve anything in life that they want bad enough. Having a lack of natural talent or skill cannot be one of their excuses.
There are three main philosophies I teach my boys and I believe that if they have a handle on these three things they will have laid the foundation to live amazing lives.
The first and foremost lesson is to have unbelievable self-belief.
The world is full of people who are better at being critics than they are at accomplishing their own goals and realizing their own dreams. It is inevitable that in life you will encounter naysayers who will tell you that you cannot be who you want to be or you cannot achieve the dreams you dream of achieving.
These are people who try to put a chink in your armor because they fear what you will become when you do succeed. They themselves once had dreams that they have let fade, and they will not go down alone.
With many doubters floating out in this world, you absolutely cannot afford to doubt yourself. You need to believe with all of your might that you can and will succeed in anything you want to accomplish. At the end of the day, only you will hold yourself back from achieving your dreams.
For me, I ask my boys these questions right before bedtime before I turn off their lights:
- Who can stop you from accomplishing your dreams? Their answer is “No one”
- Who will out work you to get what you want? Their answer is “No one”
- Who will one day become…….? (Whatever they currently dream of becoming) Their answer is “Me”
For all you parents out there please read this:
I get the fantastic opportunity to coach a 5-6 year old boys in soccer team. These kids are so impressionable at this age. It absolutely breaks my heart when I hear parents telling their kids at this age that they don’t have the skill to become a pro soccer player (trust me this happens more than you think). If you are a parent, be aware of the impact you have on your child’s mind, thoughts and future when you mention that they cannot do something. You damage their self-confidence and self-worth.
The second lesson that I always try to instill in my children is to have a never quit attitude.
Too many times, when things get hard you quit. When you get knocked down, you decide not to get back up.
My goal here is to teach my two boys that quitting is never the answer, and if you want something bad enough, you need to keep trying no matter how many times you encounter failure. In fact, I encourage my boys to learn and fail. Failure is only a failure if you quit after the failure. Failure is not a failure if you use the failure as a lesson in life.
So how do I teach my boys this theme? This one is a funny one. Ever since my boys were the ages of 3 and 5, we created a team motto or cheer. The motto or cheer is very simple, “Phu’s Don’t Quit”.
Whenever the boys feel like quitting I ask them this: What is our motto? Whenever we have a “team cheer”, it’s always the same cheer. It’s become embedded in our family culture.
Teaching kids to be mentally strong when they are young doesn’t have to be hard and complex, it just has to be consistent. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was outside doing some pylometrics training with my boys around and I told them that I was getting a bit tired, their response was "Dad, your not going to quit are you?" I chuckled and cringed at the same time because I knew that the Never Quit attitude is something that they believe in but unfortunately for me I had to keep training because quitting and giving an excuse was no longer an option :)
By the way, I believe that one of the best ways to train this perseverance muscle in adults is actually in the workout gym. It’s all about the last repetition push when you are working out. That last rep, says a lot about your mindset on quitting. That last rep is the toughest thing you will do in the gym because it is hard and painful. The question is: are you going to gut it out and push that last rep? Or are you going to quit and drop the weights?
Pain and hard work is temporary but quitting lasts forever.
The final lesson that I try to teach my kids is "In everything you do, do it to the best of your ability"
To me, teaching my boys this lesson is all about praising their effort and not the results. I believe that hard work in life pays off and teaching this valuable lesson when they are young gets them in the mindset of trying their best at everything they do.
Ask yourself this: Why bother doing something if you are going to do a mediocre job at it?
Let me take soccer as an example. Before each practice and game, I tell my boys that it is not about scoring goals or getting the assists that will make me proud. What makes me proud is seeing that they are the hardest working players on the field. If they score a goal during the game I praise them for the effort they put into scoring the goal and not actually the goal itself. After the game, I ask them were they happy with their effort on the field? Almost always the answer is yes!
How about you? Can you honestly say you are pursuing your passions with the greatest amount of effort possible? If not, why not?
To sum it up, the three main lessons I teach my boys are:
- Have unbelievable self-belief in yourself
- Have a never quit attitude
- In everything you do, do it to the best of your ability.
What do you think about these three lessons? Can you honestly say that yourself follow them? If not, why not?
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