As a homeschooling parent, you have the opportunity to provide the rounded education to give your child the self-confidence, sense of responsibility and creativity essential to build their life on their terms.
Keep in mind that whatever you believe success to be it won’t change who you are, how you feel or what you do. In the end, you are still you. You need to love and accept you.
Your child must learn this as well.
There are two types of success in life.
- Success built on most people losing and a few succeeding.
- Success that does not depend on the performance of others. This form of success is where everyone wins.
I have three friends I treasure from high school days. Each one married a boy I had known during my teen years. I didn't.
Fifty years later, I was having coffee with one of these friends. Out of the blue, she said, "We all thought you would be more successful than you are."
My initial reaction was to feel shocked, but I understood this comment. My friend admitted to feeling overshadowed by me, academically. In her eyes, my ability would lead to great things. It didn't!
She was not being nasty, just being honest and telling me what she thought. I knew what she meant. However, she had got it wrong. I was successful in numerous things. Not earth-shatteringly so but enough to be satisfied with.
I never felt successful when I was comparing myself with others and falling short. Deep down it once mattered. I have learned it does not.
As a teenager, I was afraid to stand out; it felt dangerous. I learned that in high school. I didn't want to stand out because I'd lose my friends.
Marilyn Monroe says (and with good reason!):
"Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it weren't that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in those around you."
I was my own worst enemy who limited myself. I cared too much about what people thought.
It would have been enlightening if I had realised that people rarely focused on me.
Unfortunately, I didn't ask my friend what she meant by success. But I have questioned what it means to be successful and get clear about what it means.
What is the definition of success?
The Macquarie Dictionary (The Australian National Dictionary) has four meanings:
- A favourable or prosperous ending of attempts or endeavours.
- The gaining of wealth, position and the like.
- A successful performance or achievement.
- A thing or person that is successful.
I am only guessing, but I think my friend meant I failed at number 2. Accurate call!
There are degrees of success.
It is safe to say success can be in the eye of the beholder.
Everyone experiences success at one time or another during their life. Success is not comparing ourselves with others. Success isn't only about greatness or being better than anyone else. It is about consistency.
Consistent hard work can lead to success.
To experience success in life, a child must learn:
- To value oneself
- To value and respect others
- To be independent
- To be curious
- To think critically
- Emotional Intelligence
- Self -discipline
- Social Skills
- Financial Responsibility
- How to be optimistic
Google displayed about 67 900 000 results about success in 0.48 seconds.it is a popular topic! Failure featured a lot!
In the Preface to his book, 'The Art of Growing Up', educator and best-selling author John Marsden comments on the role of parents and school in a child's life. He says that although adults have left home, these two powerful forces continue to influence their life. Parents tend to replicate with their children the behaviours and values of the people who cared for them.
"In the 'Art of Growing Up,' I've written about some of the truths which I believe we need to confront, explore and understand as much as possible. Comprehension of those truths can be helpful in our own lives and can change the lives of the young people with whom we interact."
Parents who want to do the best for their child and help them gain the skills to prosper .could learn a lot from Marsden's book. At times it is painful reading.
In Chapter 11: The Paradoxes and Frustrations of Being Human I am particularly interested in the comments he makes about winning and losing (success or failure!). He uses the experience of Bart Simpson of the television show to make a point. Bart is attending a new school. He is declared, by the powers that be, to be 'learning disabled'.
Marsden, an experienced educator, explains how Bart's experience shows the problems schools face when working with learning disabled students.
Bart experiences playing musical chairs for kids with low self-esteem. There are more chairs than players. When the music stops all players get a chair. No-one loses. Bart rolls his eyes when the ‘nice’ teacher tells them everyone is a winner.
The contrast to everyone is a winner, is the reality of sport in society.
There is usually one winner, and everyone else is a loser. The number of losers makes winning seem almost inconsequential. So few succeed. So many don't bother. Athletics, tennis and team sports all centre around many losers. For example, in the Australian Open, there are 128 starters and 127 losers!
Perhaps the answer to this is to put all sporting achievement in a more meaningful context. Winners must understand they win because other people lose. Their happiness ignores the sadness of others. Losers must understand that winning has costs. They won't always win. If everyone focused less on success and notice more the contributions of everyone sport would be more inclusive.
The concept of winning is essential, but it is not everything.
Standing out is the product of the hours practised not some inherent capacity. Those who stand out do so by choice coupled with deliberate practise. They need the self-discipline to constantly identify deficits in their performance and constantly strive to do better. Few of us are willing to do this.
Winners in most situations usually deserve their hour in the sun and the acknowledgement that accompanies it. Then comes the downfall!
Every individual has the power to enjoy sport, do their best and not to lose heart when they lose.
Life is Difficult!
Perhaps the highest truth of all is that life is difficult. Once we accept that truth, we are free to live a meaningful life and stop whingeing and complaining if things don't go our way.
Scott Peck, in his best-selling book ‘The Road Less Travelled’, says, and I quote:
"Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Do we want to teach children to solve them?"
When I accepted that life is a spiritual journey, I started to give up my immature and selfish view of success and stopped feeling sorry for myself.
I was the common denominator in all the incidences in my life.
There is a simple but rarely implemented concept that is worth considering.
Either the circumstances of life impact on you or you impact on the circumstances.
There are spiritual laws of success. These laws apply to our conscious thoughts and emotions.
These laws are usually taught within the right/wrong paradigm. As a result, we tend to think that the opposite of something good is something bad and the opposite of something bad is something good. How often have you seen good in bad and vice versa?
The Buddhists teach that everything is good and bad at the same time.
The notion that everything is good and bad at the same time is a paradox.
The word 'paradox' has several meanings:
- A statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or ridiculous
- A contradictory and false proposition
- Any person or thing exhibiting apparent contradictions
- An opinion or remark contrary to received belief.
Here are some examples of paradoxical statements.
You can save money by spending it.
The one thing I know is I know nothing.
It is the beginning of the end.
Deep down, you are shallow.
There are more examples here.
Paul Blackburn, in his book, 'The Spiritual Laws of Success – How to be Insanely Successful in Everything You Do While Finding Ease, Joy and Inner Peace' calls the Spiritual Laws the Nine Paradoxes.
Here they are in no specific order.
- Wants vs Needs
- Desire vs Attachment
- Doing vs Being
- Strength vs Vulnerability
- The Unknown vs Predictions
- Unity vs Separation
- Time Vanishes vs Time Stands Still
- Scarcity vs Abundance
- Service vs Me First
You can learn about Paul Blackburn's work here.
Each paradox is made up of two separate concepts that appear to be opposite in meaning. Visualize each paradox as a straight line with a concept at each end. Despite appearances, they can both be true at the same time. Work easily with each paradox by moving quickly along each line between the two concepts. You will find moving along the line is trying to run in mud-the mud of our lives.
Spiritual Success Involves Finding the Middle Way.
A baby is a perfect spiritual being. As he or she grows, they are affected by the people and world around them. They begin to develop a self-image (note the word image). The self-image we construct colours our view of the world and manipulates how we live in it. As we grow, we develop a personality and ego which breaks our connection with our spirit. We then begin to look for self-determination by accumulating as many achievements and assets as possible.
Spiritual success involves re-connecting with our spirit. To take time to be alone to meditate and contemplate. To also take time out from busy lives for relaxation and learning to say no. We have to find the Middle Way between the extremes of the nine paradoxes. We will avoid the trap of judging good and bad.
It takes commitment and effort, and only a few do it.
As we work on our inner selves the more deeply, we come to rest between the pull of opposites.
Once we have spiritual success, personal success will follow.
A successful life relies on a person's emotional intelligence. A child's emotional intelligence develops within the family unit.
Read how to set your children up for emotional intelligence here.
As a parent of a primary school child, you can prepare yourself and your child or children to make a success of living.
To live a successful life one needs to have:
- Adequate restful sleep
- The ability to focus
Personal success is directly related to mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness is PAYING ATTENTION to what is happening inside and outside yourself without criticising or judging.
- Being aware of our thoughts as they come and go. Acknowledging and not judging them.
- Observing our breath and other body sensations.
It is not about how you feel but paying attention to the here and now.
It is a simple process that involves discipline.
You have an active brain that generates at least 60 000 thoughts each day. That means more than forty thoughts a minute.
Everyone needs to control these thoughts.
Set your phone timer for one minute. You are going to sit quietly, turn the timer on and then listen to the unprompted thoughts that come into your head. After the minute is up, write down the thoughts. Mind chatter is going on all the time.
Your life changes when you control the mind chatter rather than have it control you?
TRAIN YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILD TO BE MINDFUL
You can begin your child's mindfulness journey today. You will be giving them a life-fulfilling gift.
The easiest way to mindfulness is being aware of and paying attention to your breath.
- Sit or lie down making sure your back is straight and you are comfortable.
- Close your eyes or rest your gaze on one spot.
- Place both hands on your stomach.
- Breathe in and imagine your breath moving deep down into your stomach.
- Feel your hands moving up and down with your breath.
Now breath in and exhale slowly six times. You have now meditated for one minute. See how easy it is!
If your mind wanders or you get distracted, bring back your mind (without judgement) to focus on your breathing.
Practise daily until you both can meditate comfortably for ten minutes.
Practise mindfulness meditation for 10 minutes a day for ten consecutive days to see and feel some positive changes.
Hopefully, by now, you have seen the benefits and will practise daily.
Regular mindfulness reminds us not to waste mental energy dwelling on the past or in the future.
Staying in the present is much more relaxing for the body and mind.
When you establish once-daily mindfulness practise, you can apply it to every part of your life.
At the end of each day, before going to sleep, think of at least five things for which you are grateful. Your daily meditation will enable you to see them.
I hope I have shown you how to measure your success and teach your child to do so as well. It is up to every individual to make a success of their life on their terms.
Have you considered your child's emotional development as part of homeschooling?
I welcome any comments you may have. I can be contacted here.
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