Donna, “Teach your children to try their best and expect no more.” Tip 4
All but two of Donna’s tips use of the word “teach.” Exceptions found only in encouraging Moms to “talk,” the other “listen.” These three words succinctly sum-up parenting, “teach,” “talk” and “listen.”
Teaching is really the essence of parenting. Teaching and parenting do not just occur because children are under your supervision. They are deliberate actions, requiring planning, objectives, and should include ongoing evaluation, of content, delivery, and effectiveness.
When reading Donna’s tip #4, “Teach them to try their best and expect no more,” I was reminded of my time with Tony Robbins. Since attending his UPW conference in 2015, I gained an entirely new perspective on what exactly is my personal best.
In terms of parenting, I too insisted Michael try his best. Now, having learned what is known as the “2-Millimeter Rule,” I would counsel, in fact whisper, “Try your very best, then, stretch just “two more millimeters.” I would further encourage, “Just when you think you can go no farther, remember the victory is only ‘two millimeters away.’”
I love Tony’s “2-Millimeter Rule!” I would parent differently because of it.
When I attended Tony’s event, I had been feeling I was trying my very best to little avail. I believed my strongest efforts were insufficient. They had not led me to achieve all I’d hoped.
I was in the midst of thinking just that when, Tony yelled from the stage, (paraphrasing), ‘For those of you feel you are working hard, you are living to their fullest potential, now feeling tired and you can go no higher, and those who have not yet achieved the success they envisioned – Reach Higher! For those who feel they have no more to give, nothing at all left, I tell you…victory is only 2 millimeters away! You may have achieved excellence, but what you want is OUTSTANDING.’ – he screamed in a booming and passionate voice.
Hearing those words have proven to be one of my most inspiring take-aways from the experience. TWO MILLIMETERS, I could always reach just two millimeters!
That said, when I imagine this approach with a small child it seems laughable, and depending on delivery – could even be abusive. Of course, accepting their best, and knowing their limits, is paramount to our role as parents. I do think there is a place for Tony’s philosophy in parenting. I think that “place” must be carefully determined, and the technique cautiously applied.
With children, it is a delicate dance to know where, when, and if to push. As a Mom, it is difficult to know exactly when their potential has been maximized. Gee, it is even challenging for me to recognize it within myself!
I have come to learn, I always do have another “two millimeters” in me. At times, I am just too tired to stretch, and that’s ok too.
When parenting, we do have to accept where our children wish to stop. Maybe they won’t want to stretch “two millimeters” higher? They may be tired? Sick? Disinterested? Maybe our children will reach their “two millimeters” motivation in an alternative field of interest?
For example, we could not seem to motivate Michael athletically. He was the type of boy more interested in chasing butterflies, than a soccer ball. On the other hand, he continued to surpass expectations in his chosen areas.
Michael has “two-millimeter motivation” in education, family, and friendships. He stretches his reach in efficiency, productivity, learning, cooking, achieving, and in community involvement. I would never, nor could ever, shift his motivation to be directed in my areas of interest. I am forever thankful for his determination and drive!
Michael achieves in the areas important to him. The world is a better place because of it, and he is happier for it!
Self-esteem can be so fragile. Building it is a bit like playing the game, Jenga! You might add blocks strengthening self-esteem, but you can make one move and shift the entire structure.
I guess, we as parents can reach higher in the parenting arena, or in any arena. As for our children, if we know them well, we can work to determine when it is time to celebrate success, and when to encourage reaching higher.
In parenting, we can apply the “2-Millimeter Rule” should we tire of our responsibilities. The times we feel we can do no more, we reach!
As a Mom, there is always more to give, we must find the strength. In modeling determination, our children find they too can achieve what once thought impossible.