It's actually working very well, but it took quite a while for her to believe us. In the long run she is showing a deep appreciation for how honest we are with her.
This would likely work with most smarter children. If you don't play mind games with them they will stop trying to play mind games on you.
-- Edit on my side note here --
She still plays games with most other adults but I would be a hypocrite to try to eliminate it completely. Mostly I just caution her on how it erodes trust and trust is very valuable. Besides, most adults are not completely honest with her so it's only fair.
That is, if they do something clever, you praise the clever thing they did, not the fact that they're clever. I know that probably sounds like splitting hairs, but kids and adults have at least as many issues communicating as adults and other adults have.
If you tell an adult 'wow you really are clever' it usually means that you appreciate what they did for you or the team and you're trying to say thank you too.
EDIT: What i wrote about lesson was not meant in a good way. As someone said in comments i was punished for being different - that was the lesson.
Yeah, I think it's a horrible lesson and a shame that too many people in powerful positions get away with it.
Yes, you should actually learn the material. No, you should not be punished for being gifted. The school should have recognized what they were dealing with, given you the test the second week and promoted you. Then perhaps you could have been challenged.
This whole "everyone has to go at the same speed" thing is what destroys gifted people.
You could have gone to college early, who knows maybe learned a lot and discovered a treatment or even a cure for many types of cancer or be the next great inventor.
Instead this school taught you to be mediocre and fit it.
What this school did to you and what it does to others is a travesty.
As a society we are destroying our most gifted people, simply so people "feel better"
Turning up every day would have wasted your time, because you would have been bored and frustrated.
A good school would have forced you to turn up but would have let you run ahead at your own pace - or maybe moved you to an environment for the gifted.
Talent is rare and useful. Gifted kids should have the same boundaries and support as everyone else, but work challenges should be stretched in line with their abilities.
I've been through similar situations (tho my breaking points have been more often and exaggerated) and quite quickly I've learnt to quack like an average guy, and to walk like an average guy, but to not be one, in school. I've always been a step ahead from my peers in learning quickly and in investing minimum time to get maximum output from my studies. So I just went to school and acted like the next guy, and did whatever I wanted (whatever being programming, literature, philosophy, etc.) in my spare time.
There is no justice in this, as the headmaster of your school said to your parents, some are just naturally more inclined to apprehension. Furthermore, some like doing it more than others. But sometimes educational staff feel the need to normalise the outliers, because they believe that the rest will believe that them themselves are idiots and won't engage. So they confine those outliers, the smarter ones, to normality, to the average, sacrificing them for the rest. Not only are their assumptions wrong, but the effects may be really bad on the students, dissuading them from exploiting their gifts in the future.
Some people are better at learning. Others are better at other things. Do we break the noses of very good-looking students in the school because they have unjust advantage in getting into relationships? Do we somehow shorten taller students because they score more baskets that the others? Do we deflate the breasts of more bustier students because other girls may get jealous of them? I'm sorry if I sounded a bit harsh and immodest. I don't claim that some are better overall than others, but they are better in some treats. But in situations like in your anectodes and in many experiences I myself had as an outlier, I've seen that this sort of practice leads to a missionary of reducing everybody to the lowest common denominator with regards to educational abilities, rendering public schools futile.
At school I was probably similar, and thinking back basically an awful child, for much of the same reasons. But at least in some of my classes (maths, for example) they recognised that just following the standard course at the same pace as everyone else was a waste of my time, and allowed me to work on the course material for the next years classes, which was at least a little more interesting, and some kind of extra-curricular maths problems as part of an inter-school competition that were much more interesting.
OT - the maths problems didn't always hold my interest, and when I couldn't be bothered doing the actual work of proving something rigorously, I instead wrote a brute-force solver in PASCAL, that produced the correct solution. Then I had the challenging task of persuading people that this was actually an acceptable method of solving a problem. I can't remember if I succeeded, but I think I gave the example of the computer proof of the four-colour theorem that I had read about in New Scientist.
There was a gifted kid in my third grade. He was moved up one grade straight to 5, and again to 7 to finally match rest of the class.
Anecdote warning: I've seen very few kids who skip more than a grade (if that) who have the ability to relate and function among peers well. They're not generally going to be accepted as a peer at that age by kids a couple-few years older than them - and for many, school is where that skill is learned.
Spending years going to classes that do nothing but teach you things you have already mastered is not practice. It's torture. To improve retention and mastery you keep using the skills you've attained to greater effect. The compounding is what matters. Move too slowly and people shut down, tune out, and ignore the material. That's when material is forgotten.
Did your parents agree with this way of schooling? That you were too smart to go to school? That's the only way I could see this happening. Did you study when you weren't at school, or did you simply chill out till test time?
For some students and some schools, being in school is actively bad for them, even worse than a fairly useless homeschooling experience. Some schools are just that bad.
The hard part is getting into college. You can take a test (the GED) that is meant to certify that you have an equivalent to a highschool education. Still, without a transcript, you will have to lean a lot on your resume (jobs, volunteering, internships) and personal statement.
Now, regularly scheduled thoughts :) :
What is a good, short method/word for praising effort?
with my 8.5-month old, "Good Job," specific variants on it ("Good Job climbing that staircase, tiny!") and such have worked wonderfully, but I seek something more-
It's so easy to praise a child's intelligence - "You're so smart!" "That's so clever!" - but much harder to praise effort, in my experience so far, because "I can tell you worked so hard to do that, that's so great!" just doesn't roll off the tongue very well! And this is important- "Good job!" is at the nexus of how I praise my little boy partially because he totally understand it. He's got that, even if he may not know the individual words exactly, he absolutely knows what Daddy means when, "Good job, baby!" comes out of daddy's mouth. I have VERY LOW FAITH that I could get, "I can tell you worked so hard to do that, that's so great!" to work the same!
(Incidentally, I also now feel I know more about why, in America at least, we often say, "I'm doing good," and variants thereof, instead of "I'm doing well." "Well" just isn't in the primal vocabulary quite as deeply, maybe because of its association with "Well, I was going to, but then I didn't," type of statements. "Good" is simple and meaningful, and I often find myself telling my son he's done something so "good," and then correcting myself a little, because, well, I want to teach him correct grammar, but more than that, I want to communicate with him meaningfully - and "good" gets a meaning across with which he's already familiar, while "well" does not, and has other common uses.)
So what's the simple-language equivalent of, "You're so smart," or "That was so smart," but for intellectual effort?
Maybe I need to invent a word for this and see if it catches on! :D
Oldest is 12 now, all three do very well.
I'm still searching for more, though, because "You're a hard worker," has actually been one of the things I've been trying, but it often feels- wrong. Stilted, like I'm trying too hard to teach instead of just sincerely offer the poor kid the damn praise. ;) Maybe I just need more practice, but I feel like there's room for improvement in the language there. :D :)
In light of all this, though, how about "Great, you're getting better!" It acknowleges the accomplishment, marks them as improving over the past, and implies there's more to do? Again, projection. :)
Praise them whatever. Love, security, praise, attention, just go for it.
I doubt very much that all the noise around raising children can be filtered out to be able to differentiate between sentences.
Just raise kids with love and fun.
May be that love and fun is all the kids need to be both happy and successful, but maybe not: I had very hippyish parents who didn't go much beyond love and fun and blind support. Myself and my two siblings all had very happy childhoods, but only my very self-motivated sister wound up finding success and happiness as an adult right off the bat, took me a decade to get my footing, and my brother - who was unquestionably the happiest and most loved kid in the family - is a broken and miserable adult.
Ultimately it comes down to regarding your kids as individuals and tailoring your parenting to each kid, which is what this study is trying to help parents do w.r.t. smart kids.
i really like that, nice and succinct.
i figure that the ways that i am which are outside of my control, or even my awareness, dwarf the ways i am that are within my control. my efforts to be a good parent are almost insignificant compared to, i don't know, my posture and facial expression while speaking with the cashier at the grocery store, and all the other things like that.
maybe your last sentence should be, "Just raise kids with love and fun, and work on your own damn self."
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite.
And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hands be for happiness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves the bow that is stable."
Do not patronize, and do not try to apply cookie cutter logic. Be nice, be honest and pay attention to their individual qualities.
The non-STEM stuff was confusingly ill-defined and in those subjects I was average, at best. And because I wasn't good at them, I avoided them: I didn't do anything to be smart, I always had been, so what could I do to become smart at reading Shakespeare? I had no idea how I could learn to understand something I didn't understand because understanding seemed to have been something I was just born with.
I did well enough on the SATs to get into a top college and decided to major in electrical engineering. I skated through freshman year, earning a low B average.
Towards the end of the year I met with my advisor, the head of the department for the first time. Without preamble he said "We made a mistake. You're not really the person you looked like you'd be in your application." I didn't really grasp what he was saying. "You're not getting the grades your record indicates you could get. You're not working hard enough. You should think about transferring to a less demanding school. In any case, EE requires a commitment and I think you should pick a different major."
I was stunned. This was the first time in my life that anyone had ever done anything but praise my academics. I was angry. How could this adult, who claimed to be some sort of mentor, talk to me like that? In fact, writing this years and years later, I'm still a little pissed off.
But looking around, all my friends and classmates were working their asses off, getting ready for finals. The guy may have been a jerk, but he was right: I wasn't working hard and I wasn't learning very much. Much as I dislike the guy, I have to admit he did me an enormous service. He recognized that I needed a kick in the teeth to take his advice seriously. The next three years I made sure I worked harder than everyone else around me, if only to prove that he was wrong, that I hadn't been a mistake. I stayed in EE and would have graduated near the top of my class if I hadn't had to factor in my freshman year grades.
So what does that prove? That you can make a kid neurotic if you push him hard enough? Maybe. But I know that if I had tried to skate through my post-college life being smart and not working, I would have got nowhere and done nothing interesting. Being super intelligent is like having giant biceps: impressive, but rarely useful. People admire intelligence, but they reward getting things done. Getting things done requires some intelligence, but much more it requires hard work and stick-to-itiveness. I'm not faulting my parents one bit: they manifestly loved me, found me good schools and interesting activities and fed my eagerness to do useful things. But I'm careful with my kids to praise the things they control and can change--like hard work and not being deterred when things are hard--and let the being smart thing take care of itself.
I'm already one of those people with a generally dry/sarcastic sense of humor (think Ruxin from The League, "I can't even tell when you're joking" kinda thing), so I have a hard time telling when I'm actually being an asshole or condescending or not, because while I seriously try to watch myself I still occasionally get the feeling that I came off the wrong way or, well, condescendingly. "You just think you're sooooo smart..."
Peter Thiel on his thoughts re: Elon Musk:
"[He is] very smart, very charismatic, and incredibly driven -- a very rare combination, since most people who have one of these traits learn to coast on the other two."
Quote source: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2g4g95/peter_thiel_te...
If you're interested: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/02/16/scorpion/
If a smart kid is always taught the convenient fiction that everyone is exactly the same, then when they interact with an athletic kid who dominates them at sports but struggles academically, what conclusion will the smart kid draw?
And finally, is this "praise effort and self esteem" movement responsible for the current wave of anti-free-speech protests on college campuses?
That just doesn't make sense. Praise your kid for doing not for being. Who's advocating teaching smart kids everyone is the same? It seems like any child is going to realize this isn't true.
>is this "praise effort and self esteem" movement responsible for the current wave of anti-free-speech protests on college campuses?
That is a result of the cultural admiration of protesting / fighting for rights / rebelling against X. Admiration of the real civil rights movement, environmentalism, etc.
The problem is that as a society we're running out of clean cut black and white issues (no pun intended) to be opposed to. There are still problems, but not nearly as many _simple_ problems. Things are complicated these days.
So they're straying off into the weeds trying to attack complex social issues with the same strategies that worked against simple ones and coming out looking like fools. And likewise the targets of their protests are straying because complex issues don't have a big bad evil you can hate, and that nuance and detail are being lost.
The once reasonable protesting class are being supplanted by increasingly unreasonable protestors who are rebels searching desperately for a cause.
It seems that has been the general trend in elementary education since I was a kid. As an example, I remember the year that all the talent trophies were changed to be the same size, and everyone got one just for participating. Athletics were an exception, though; it was considered acceptable to be better at sports. It was a noble attempt to try to boost the underprivileged, but just ended up confusing everyone.
This is an interesting explanation for the phenomenon I had not yet considered. I am not yet convinced it is the right or only one, but I will keep it in mind.
They went from "tracked" classes that mixed the 20 year old 9th graders with smart kids. Everyone got to suffer together.
It was honestly probably the best thing that happened to me. It helped me build empathy and grounded me to accepting that intelligence is only one piece of the puzzle. I'm now working in a position that gives me huge intellectual freedom.
There is a silver lining.
In my specific case, it was a poor rural district with four 20-25 student sections. Mixing up the barely literate and disruptive kids made things harder. In my senior year my project partner in Civics was a fellow senior who basically couldn't write.
The only escape was AP classes -- but we only had AP English, US History and Calc.
As part of "raising standards" they started requiring advanced math. We were unable to compete the material, and I learned a lot of math while cramming for the annual exam -- which in my state was standardized and a key to college admissions.
Not having to do 'difficult' homework was the catalyst that gave me the freetime to work on programming which is another reason why getting kicked out was great.
Not sure why I'm thinking about it or why I'm even mentioning it, but this happened in the same city Ray Bradbury grew up. Everybody in the school was required to read 451, which was treated as a homework with uninterested students' contempt. It's very interesting to be raised in the city that influenced much of his writing.
By reinforcing the action, you help a kid understand that it is their effort that led to the achievement, which encourages the kid to make efforts when she wants something.
Reinforcing the characteristic, on the other hand, suggests that it is the kid's innate characteristics that led to the achievement, which encourages them to defend that identity.
Your implicit assumption is that your kid will not succeed at something athletically no matter how hard they try. If a kid dreams of going for the NBA or the NFL, why not let them try?
What's the benefit of praising a child for their intelligence if intelligence is immutable? Is it a self esteem play or what?
It's a hypothetical example to show that there might be kids who are inherently good at different things, and that focusing on intelligence as the attribute not to praise hasn't played out over the last 18 years the way people seemed to expect in 1998.
My point is that intellectual aspirations are just as valid as athletic ones, and that kids should be free to choose their goals and dreams with full awareness of their own advantages and disadvantages.
What's the benefit of praising a child for their intelligence if intelligence is immutable?
The benefit I am proposing is that truly intelligent children won't be afraid to use their intelligence to get ahead, nor be afraid to admit where they might not be ahead. IMO maximizing individual potential puts society in a better position to maximize societal potential than trying to normalize everyone to be similar.
I think you're saying that unless you give intelligent children permission to use their intelligence, they won't do so, or will do so less. I find that very dubious. What evidence do you have for this? I even feel (though I hope I am mistaken) that what you are really after is a hint that it's okay for your kids to feel superior or entitled in some sense relative to kids that are less intelligent. If intelligence is useful for producing work, why not let all kids be judged by the work they produce, rather than something abstract like intelligence?
She also stumbles and falls a lot as we climb different things and walk over different surfaces. I tell her "keep going" or "you've got this" and she gets right back up and keeps trying. I find that if you focus on saying that she'll be alright or making sure she is not hurt (when she is clearly not), she'll dwell on that, start crying and stop doing what she is doing.
This story and the other links published here got me thinking about this. Innate ability is clearly important when you really think about it, but what I want to instill is this idea that it's normal and natural to fail along the way to success and that even if you are really talented at something, you'll have setbacks.
What does an intelligent kid do? Find the easiest way to do a task or question whether the task is necessary at all. That's just humans conserving energy. Which is smart. This is not the hard part for them, they excel at this.
Effort is consciously fighting against the drive to stop working. THIS is the hard part. Above average children never have to learn this, because they get through school and life that easy. It's only when they are forced to leave their comfort zone, when problems show up.
Intelligent Children who aren't kept or lead out of this effort-avoidance (which is a kind of motivation as well: the motivation to avoid effort in order to conserve energy) also tend to get worse grades after they got good ones.
Because praising them signals them that they actually overachieved and can therefore put even less energy into accomplishing a task.
So the way to go is praising them for doing something that they didn't want to do or for repeating effort.
You can outwork someone and make up for an intellectual or physical disadvantage, but you may be less inclined to do so if people tell you that you have greatly innate gifts than you do.
Let's also keep in mind that a lot of very intelligent people are able to focus and think more abstractly, allowing them to be very efficient workers. I just see a lot of parents telling their kids how smart they are, thinking it will build up their self esteem, but I wonder if this is counterproductive if they are actually of more average intelligence.
I've found this TED talk the best explanation of growth vs. fixed mindset: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN34FNbOKXc
I was recently depressed and without really having been told anything he gave me this hollywood-movie pep talk along the lines of "it's important that you know that you have great talents so don't sweat the small stuff and tell me if you're in trouble".
Maybe this is pretty much off-topic, but the point I wanted to make is that people react to different things and much of the art of squeezing motivation and productivity out of them has to do with understanding this.
Which may be why I've spent so much time when I've been ostensibly slacking off trying to understand monads, reading HN, and, every few months or so, once again trying to bash my way through SICP...
My tentative plan, for my son, is to phrase it as a question. "Did you work hard on this?". If so, praise the hard work. If not, "let's find you something more challenging".
I'm not saying this is a bad idea for sure but I've run in so many cases with my kids where my "clever" way of communicating with them came back and bit me in ways I never would have considered. And since they can't necessarily communicate things well it could fester or direct his thinking in directions you won't know about for a long time.
Parenting is hard. :)
The distinction I was drawing wasn't between having worked and having slacked, but having had to work and having a task easy enough work wasn't needed.
More generally, I do take your point - no plan survives contact with the enemy :p
Eg if they paid attention in class, or if they took good notes, or if they did the homework, or if they studied -- credit that. Hopefully as a parent you'll have some idea of how they're spending their time.
But I absolutely agree that saying something false is not going to do them any favors [although they might learn that you have no idea how they spend their time].
I have a two year old who exhibits no mastery of the English language, but I praise her when she tries out a new word on for size and keeps attempting to perfect it.
I always took "A for effort" to be extremely patronizing because I was trying to do the thing right.
Telling kids they are "smart" is part of the "understanding the world around them" goal. The reality is that everyone has different gifts in different combinations, and as a parent you want to help your child to both discover their own gifts and to appreciate the gifts of others. And you want to do that without imparting a judgment on the relative value of different gifts. Since "smart" is not well defined (does it mean good at math? or clever in solutions? or quickness of retort? depth of vocabulary? Etc.) I have sought to try to tie a gift to the context where it helps have an impact on the world (second concept above) which helps the child understand how they can contribute to an overall project or how others can contribute with their overall project.
The generic advice for parents is to 'praise the accomplishment not the child.' which seeks to turn the child's vision of their place in the world outward. However I have seen that be interpreted as "my accomplishments define me" which can be a problem as well. So I gave up with advice, and stick to goals.
So crediting what they did specifically (pay attention, study, etc) to accomplish their goal (get an A on a test) is a way to reward the work that they did [and to tie the success -- the A -- to the work that they did].
Saying "you have such a good vocabulary" is a compliment, but it's not a useful one. Saying "your reading has really helped you develop your vocabulary" might be better?
Perhaps the test was just too easy to the student that any compliment will sound false or unreal.
Example: to challenge myself in the (any name you give to the class you're in when you are 14) I would challenge myself giving me just one minute to each answer in amath test. Any compliment would be weird.
Kids are hard.
"Yes, it's difficult. The important things are difficult. It's not too difficult for you to do. You can do better each time you try again."
for example, Now the child has learned associate praise( and love) with being a hard worker. This is now his framework for his life, a prison he can never escape.
I think this a form of child abuse, to destroy child's spirit with praises, comparisons etc. Yet society sees this a something positive. Why can't children learn for their own enjoyment, kids already have great deal of intrinsic motivation why do we need to praise him.
You're conflating "working hard" with drudgery, or working hard at a job. Praising children for working hard is praising them for their drive. I hope to raise a driven child. Drive is the enabler for acting out your internal desires. I'd congratulate my kid for working hard on solving a puzzle or getting better at playing a game.
I do think that stressing taking care of your mental health is very important. Sometimes downtime is needed.
Later in life children will be put in situations were being unable to work effectively and put in effort will have really bad impacts on their lives. Preparing them to be able to cope is for their own best.
That does not equate to teaching them to be good little worker drones regardless of their own happiness.
> kids already have great deal of intrinsic motivation why do we need to praise him.
Because not receiving praise and positive attention is soul destroying and leads people to seek other ways of getting attention. In the absence of positive attention, any attention - including punishment will do.
Got a kid? Try ignoring them, and see attention-grabbing behaviour escalate dramatically in an amazingly short time span. From my son was 2 and to this day (he's 7), withdrawing attention has been our primary means of discipline, and it is scarily effective. When he was 2-3 we'd limit it to ignore him for 20-30 seconds at a time.
(In fact, it works with adults too - just try shifting your body away from someone to punish behaviour you find rude or offensive. It's crazily effective with most people)
So given that you almost certainly will praise your children if you want them to thrive, the question is what to praise to help them do as well as possible.
Praising them for effort does not mean praising them only for that, or praising them for working too much. It means praising them for effort in preference to praising them for results. But also praise them for other things, including ensuring they get enough rest and take time to play.
Have you never met someone whose spirit was broken as a kid, as they struggled to earn praise, but their successes or even struggles were never acknowledged? It's practically a character archetype. Kids hunger for approval from their parents, the same way you hunger for approval from your heroes.
"This is now his framework for his life, a prison he can never escape."
pfft. one's "framework for life" isn't any more durable than anything else.
It is positive feedback based on performance and not a acknowledgement of inherent and innate abilities. Bronx tale might say it best, "there is nothing sadder in this World than wasted talent".
Edit: The article suggests otherwise, that praising ability leads to better outcomes than praising efforts (however, only under the conditions of success).
As a kid when I'd do something cool and show my parents/relatives, they didn't neither of these approaches - no talking about how smart I was, nor about how much work I'd done. We just talked about how cool whatever the cool thing was.
It was great.
kids know what synonyms are.
I'm going to keep expressing my awe at how clever my kids are every chance I get. You tell yours to work hard all you want.
It is not entirely parents' fault. I mean, a ton of men have had the same type of conditioning, but then go on to have a series of uncomfortable epiphanies in high school and college that lead to self-improvement and later happiness. But it for sure is setting your kid up for misery, whether temporary or permanent.
Praise hard work -> could be a subtle attempt at manipulation.
Maybe instead we should ask them what they want to do, and support their creative activities.
Sounds cold to some, I understand, but once you've raised a few, you'll know what you did right and what you did wrong. That's still better than letting them decide everything.
As adults who have lived through being children, a surprising percentage of us actually do know better than a small child what's best for the small child for a surprising percentage of their lives.
I wrote from this point of view, but I agree that parents and teachers know better most of the time, I just don't know if it is good to try so hard to make sure the child doesn't make any "wrong" choices.
I worked from age 14 doing paper rounds, gardening jobs, babysitting and I also had a Saturday job in a bicycle shop. All of these opportunities I made for myself, there was no nepotism or anything like that. I never got into trouble or had must-try-harder in these environments. My customers/clients/bosses were not easy to please, but I did please them and the feedback I received was genuine praise and thanks. I had much more disposable income than any of my teachers, I also worked as many hours a week than them. (I know they mark homework and do other stuff after the bell goes). I did have some development issues from doing 40-60 hours of on-your feet hard work week in week out with no holidays ever (plus school, with the equivalent of at least a 10K jog every day) so painful ankles was normal to me.
From this experience I gained quite a few mentors, and, in the world of business, if you have customers to serve, and if time is money, then failures (e.g. breaking something) could be dealt with more sensibly - no inquisition/detention, just don`t do it again and everyone is happy.
Amongst my clique of school friends, nobody else got the work thing. They had pocket money and school dinner money instead of their own earnings. They also had parents that helped them along to posh universities (or art schools) and quiet, warm places to study. If they wanted a bicycle then one would appear for them if they behaved. To them money was something you held onto, it wasn`t something you just walked out the door to get. They had a limited reservoir of money not a flowing river of the stuff. They would also have exciting activities in the after school hours - swimming, piano lessons, you know the drill - none of these things they personally had to pay for, the parents did. Consequently they could be assertive to get what they wanted - they developed a sense of entitlement for things whereas I went the other way - servitude to others!!! That was how I got my praise, building customer/client/employer relationships and school. I always felt that any praise that did come from school was lip-service and utterly worthless. On the flipside I knew that I could always get work and didn`t have to be beholden to any employer. I still see this aspect today as a programmer. If I have a bad day I could just pick up the phone and be somewhere else next Monday, no references or interview needed. My regular office colleagues don`t have this, moving up the hierarchy by doing as they are told is how it works.
I don`t see small children with 25Kgs of newspapers on their backs at the crack of dawn or small children pushing heavy lawnmowers or serving people in shops. The world has moved on from that possibility.
However I do see people who want to win the lottery, be a pop star or a footballer. I also see a lot of young people getting validation through Facebook likes from their peers. None of these things are real... It is only in the area of software development that kids can actually do something to get praise denied by parents and teachers. So, if you are 14 and reading this, that is my advice - write code, get happy customers and get some real world praise.
I haven't been unemployed for a significant time since, I've been out of work 2 months now (I start my new job in a week) and it's driven me up the wall.
Most people I knew in high school never had a job, and I knew a few people at university who managed to go through their entire degree without a job as well. These people have never worked a day in their life, they're going to have massive issues when it comes to actually finding a career. I'd never hire someone who's 20-something with no job experience.
Upon saying that, along the way I've picked up an attitude of work harder, not smarter, which I've been struggling to reverse. I worked for half a decade in kitchens, where that was the prevailing attitude, nobody would spend 5 minutes to save them 20 minutes. Chefs aren't known for being intellectuals and good managers.
One of the hard things about Hacker News is making sure that interesting topics get discussed, instead of getting pulled into a stronger gravitational field. Satellite digressions are often ok, but having every discussion land on the same old popular planets (what, Jupiter again?) is tedious.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12234163 and marked it off-topic.
-- Thomas Jefferson
(likely fake, but still good)
It's unwise to ignore the unintended consequences of your actions, and that's still true even if you wish said consequences didn't exist.
the lesson is "don't piss of people with power over you that are willing to use it". that's a tough lesson to learn and is practical advice for survival in this world. there is value in truth though. learning better strategies for telling the truth is very valuable.
I'd rather try to give him tools he can use to build self-respect, so his early life isn't as fucked up as mine was.
You don't think a person can have self-esteem based on their work ethic?
The use of "instead of," combined with the linked paper's recommendation of praising for effort rather than ability, implies that this dichotomy is anything but false in his mind.
But my adult life (I am 28 now) went nowhere precisely for this reason.
As a kid, I could literally skip all classes and homework, then figure the subject "on the spot" during tests, and score high enough to still pass.
This doesn't work as adult, but I don't know how to do it right now...
Learn through the gym how to enjoy the process more than the milestones, and apply the same mechanic to other aspects of life. What's the next 2% improvement you can make to anything in your life?