Chrstmas Spirit

Chrstmas Spirit
My wife and kids having a little holiday fun

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sowing Seeds

Buckle up early for this blog because I'm jumping in head first!

The kids I've worked with in my life have looked up to me the same way your kids look up to you.  It didn't matter if it was St. Josephs Children's Home, as a public school teacher, or my own kids.  Being the authority figure and acting like the authority figure are two different things though.  For example, a teacher may BE the authority figure the kids are supposed to look up to; but if they don't ACT like the authority figure, respect over time is lost.

The reason I made this distinctions is because we, as authority figures, have a golden opportunity with our kids.  As long as they respect us, they will take our words and actions to be meaningful and trusted.  Because of this simple fact, here's the plan.  Let's encourage kids to achieve heights they never thought they could. 

Children victimized by the United Kingdom's Ch...
Kids are looking to us right now for help!
At  St. Joseph's Children's Home, we worked a lot on behavior because that was a major factor in getting a child ready to be in a  foster home or better yet- adopted.   Because kids there looked up to me (along with many other super house parents) I used to praise them to no end for good behavior.  The various forms of praise from me were the seeds sown.  On the flip side, I didn't baby them when they behaved poorly.  I had a clear goal of where I wanted them behaviorally even if they had lost some hope for ever being adopted. For some children, the goal was achieved but I worked tirelessly for years in order for that dream to be realized by all.

Another example could be found when I was teaching.  In the classroom, kids would sometimes tell me they couldn't read.  Those were fighting words in my classroom.  I would go out of my way over time to prove to them they COULD read but they needed to practice to get better.  Since I was the authority figure, I could sow those seeds within a child and eventually have them reading at a higher level over time.

Don't get me wrong.  Sowing seeds doesn't always work.  But, it's not my job to know when this tactic will work and when it won't.  It's my job to command the respect of children so when I sow the seeds, they have a chance of "sprouting."

Here's an example of a time your humble blogger apparently failed.  This story occurred on a picturesque fall day.  My son, Cameron, and I were driving to one of his tennis lessons. I remember pumping him up saying things like "let's really concentrate today" and "hit the ball like your coach taught you."  I also threw in "you can beat those kids even if they are a little older."  In my own mind, I sounded like General Patton pumping up the troops.  In other words, the seeds were clearly sown and greatness was sure to follow.  It was at this point that Cameron exclaimed out of the blue, "Look daddy, there's a bird in that nest!"

For the record, Cameron played fine that day.  Regardless, I'm not sure anything I said registered at the time;  but that's not the point.  I tried to do what I could to encourage Cameron to play his best tennis. 

It's not only your choice when to sow the seeds; but what seeds are to be sown and how often.  Though my tennis example with Cameron may prove it doesn't always work, I will guarantee there are many times it does. In order to get the best out of kids, they have to have confidence.  Though parents sowing seeds is not the entire equation for a child to excel, it's certainly an important step.

On a final note, any parent who has a child's respect can also fall victim to sowing negative seeds.  If, for example, I told my children they were ugly, dumb, inferior to others, or not very good at something, they would completely believe me.  All parents should watch their words very carefully because the consequences are potentially devastating.  I once heard long ago, "don't be the parent who thinks they know how the book ends before the final chapter is even written." Even if your child isn't the best at something (and whose child is) it's still important to make them feel good about themselves and what they are doing. 

We want our children to be happy.  We want the best for them. Together, let's sow seeds to give our kids every chance to achieve these things.

My next blog will be this Friday, I have several interesting parenting questions to choose from. If you have a parenting question, it can be sent to

Take care of yourselves and your families and please don't forget to pass this along to other parents!!!     


  1. This is such an interesting blog! I hope I'm not sowing too many confidence seeds. My 3 year old seems to be getting a little full of herself! Thank you for stopping by Ad Bits! Keep up the good work here!

  2. Those are excellent words to live by. Fantastic post!

  3. Great post!! I'm glad you put the facebook link on the side bar.

    Your topic... you can't write enough about it!!

    The about me, you need to put it in to smaller paragraphs. When the texts are in huge chucks people will gaze over, maybe they think they can't read.... I know fighting words. :D

  4. Definitely, being careful with words in front a child is a must. My daughter is autistic and takes everything literally so I've learnt over the years that I have to be very careful and think thoroughly before I speak.

    CJ xx

  5. So, so true! Fantastic post.

    Found you through Mom Bloggers, pop over to bigwords if you ever get a chance x

  6. Following you back!

  7. Hi Clayton! Excellent words of wisdom on Sowing Seeds! You just got yourself another follower.
    Hope you'll swing by my place where company is always welcome:)
    Happy New Year!

  8. Great post. Thanks for following..Following back

  9. Great post... my daughter is 13 months old repeats everyhting you say :/ Thanks for stopping by Keeping Up With The Rheinlander's

  10. Great post! I'm a mom (follow back from MBC) and I'm also a public school teacher. I teach reading to struggling readers at a local high school. Many of my students come from broken homes and generational poverty. This combined can make for very angry teens. You're right when you say that we need to plant seeds. I am constantly working to show these kids that they can make something of themselves and that they don't have to accept mediocre.

    Thanks for the follow!
    Best wishes in 2011!

  11. Great post! Following you from MBC. I'd love a follow back

  12. You are right. I have a daughter who is going to turn 2 next month.
    I am a first time mom and there are many things my daughter has taught me.
    I know now that I have to be careful of every word I utter and every action I perform as she is watching me and following everything I do.

  13. I love a dad who cares! keep up your amazing work!

    the great letdown

  14. What a great post.
    I wish I had learnt this lesson a lot earlier than I did. It wasn't until our oldest was around 5 and I took a Positive Parenting with redirection class that I learnt the power of sowing positive seeds.
    My mum didn't have a lot of words for us growing up. We knew she had expectations for school and roles around the house. I don't remember a lot of praise but I also don't remember a lot of intention criticism, rather times of disappointment in us.
    Prior to our son being diagnosed with high functioning Aspergers I was concerned about sowing too many positive seeds. I've since learnt that he has enough of a negative dialogue in his head that there is no such thing as too many positive seeds or "filling his bucket" as his teacher likes to call it. We have seen a huge difference in his behavior and attitude by sowing more positive seeds with him.
    I'll be sure to share this post.