25 April 2009

links for 2009-04-25

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Alfie Kohn has a great book by that name. I think about the impact of too many rewards as well. Or what about trophies? When we were kids that meant hard work, top performance, now it means a kids showed up to most of the games. When my son was about five, he had a trophy he was especially proud of--he got it out of a "free stuff" bin at a garage sale.

This rewards article reminds me of two articles that are having a big impact on me.

The first is Po Bronson's "How Not to Talk To Your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise" (http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/). It centers around trying to raise your kids to focus on the effort and hard work needed to accomplish things. Praising the effort and hard work and not necessarily the end result, he argues, seems to help instill value in the intrinsic qualities of the task.

Just recently, Malcolm Gladwell wrote "How David Beats Goliath: When underdogs break the rules," (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell) which you wouldn't think has a parenting angle based on the title. However, one of the basic themes of the article is that effort often beats ability.

To me, all three combine to prompt me as a parent to try to instill in my children an interest and appreciation of work and effort; that some of the satisfaction of a job well done rests in the work that was needed to get there.

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