Working Hard :: day 3
In Malcolm Gladewell’s book Outliers he makes mention of the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for about 10,000 hours.
Mark Hamby of Lamplighter Publishing makes a similar claim; “It takes a minimum of 10,000 hours to be great at something. Most people don’t put that amount of devotion into anything.”
To back this up, a fascinating read is The Dan Plan. Dan decided to put this theory of 10,000 hours of practicing a specific skill to produce excellence to a test. In 2010, as a 30 year old man, with no professional golf experience, Dan left his job as a professional photographer in order to pursue becoming a professional golfer. Devoting 30 hours a week to this, his experiment will come to an end in October 2016.
Reading through his blog one thing is clearly evident :: this takes hard work.
I have deeply appreciated these insights and the thoughts they have inspired when considering how it relates to raising my children.
Children need to be taught the value of hard work.
It isn’t a matter of committing my children to 10,000 hours of practicing something, though that can most definitely fit within a family culture beautifully, but it is a matter of teaching them how to work hard and appreciating hard work.
Our children are growing up in a society that does not show appreciation for hard work. Skills, talents and head smarts are praised – but a sincere appreciation for hard work is not often come by.
You can teach your children to work hard by praising hard work.
And this is done by having an intimate understanding of your own child as working hard cannot simply be measured by results.
Let me give you a real life example of this; if you were to try to teach my 5 year old a piece of memory work all it would take would be for you to say the piece to him one or two times and he would then retain it like a sponge. Give the same piece of memory work to the 4 year old and it would require several days of focus, with actions, clapping and tone variants needed.
Even though the 5 year old produces the end result more quickly, the 4 year old works much harder. If we praised results the 4 year old would very quickly learn that it’s too hard to memorize, but instead we focus on hard work and make the attention all on their hard work so that they can learn to take pride in working hard and appreciating the results of hard work.
Since adapting this into our family it has been neat to see it working into the boys interactions with us. They talk about their hard work and have made the connection that hard work equals results, which is really encouraging to see in young children.
As a mother, it has been very tricky to wrap my head around how to talk about hard work rather than praising results. As mothers we want to encourage our children – we need to! – but encouraging them in a way that will aid in motivating them to continue working harder rather than sitting comfortably in their own pride and/or skills is a challenge.
A challenge I am convinced is going to be worthwhile.
Day 3 of 31 Days of Communicating With Our Children. Click here to see all posts in this series.