The journey from A to B… Why recognising when they work hard and celebrating success matter.
Imagine you’re taking a trip, from A to B. It sounds simple when you say it like that. You’re on a long hike. Along the way you encounter hard gradients, a twisted ankle, stops to rest and re-energise, re-hydrate. You finally make it! The end goal completed, feelings of euphoria. To get to B from A has been a journey. At certain parts in that journey you put in more energy, concentration and hard work. Those moments you wont ever forget, those moments you keep celebrating to yourself, feeling proud of and motivating you to do it again, maybe a longer hike, slightly harder next time or even if it’s a shorter easier hike you have that inbuilt self motivation to keep going and overcome difficulties because you know you can do it and you remember feelings of success along the way.
Celebrating hard work and effort is SO important. Its one of the key steps to developing intrinsic motivation. Children don’t always naturally know how to celebrate their own successes. It’s up to us as adults to help them understand and recognise when they work hard. We need to teach them to reflect on how they feel and take pride when they work hard at something. This will take practice and you may need to think outside the box when doing this. Some children will be able to openly communicate how they feel where as others may find it easier to talk and be more responsive when you are strategic in initiating this type of conversation. Some of the best conversations with children take place when something else is happening. (When you’re cooking or in the car together). Some children may find it easier to draw how they’re feeling. Encouraging children to understand their own feelings in turn enables them to understand other people's feelings thus developing their emotional intelligence but I’ll go more into detail on feelings and emotions on another blog!
Next time your child works hard at something from a piece of school work, to a new lego build or a creating a den remember to celebrate the success and hard work along the way not just the end result.
Teach them to recognise the feelings of happiness, pride and satisfaction from working hard. Encourage them to keep going again and again to overcome difficulties. Let them know that sometimes you set off from A and you don’t always get to B but the hard work along the way is worth celebrating and being proud of. If you try your hardest but don’t make it to B you have NOT failed. Mistakes are ok, we learn from them and grow from them. Its ok to take a deep breath and start again or come back to things.
Model this by celebrating your own successes and talking about how you work hard and keep trying when things aren’t always easy. My wonderful friend recently introduced me to this powerful quote from Marian Wright Elderman that will always stay with me:
“You cannot be what you cannot see”