This might not be the happiest memory but it may be one of the most important. Did you take responsibility for your failure and learn from it? Did you blame someone else?
In a Psychology Today article, “A Nation of Wimps”, a research study suggests that young people today are less able to cope with life and difficult circumstances. Many times, young people are not given a chance to learn from their failures but instead blame others. Is this from overprotection of parents and teachers in younger grades or the belief by many that it is “safer to lower the bar than raise the discomfort level”?
The reality is that there is not one clear answer for why this is happening. It’s always easier to put the blame on someone else but that will not help to make a change. True change comes from ownership not from “renting” your life. At the start of the school year it is important to think about if your children are “renting” their school experience or do they “own” it?
Ownership is when a student has claimed something (experience, item) and is responsible for it and controls it. When the child is the owner, he has control. When a student has ownership of his academic experience he has commitment, endurance, and motivation.
People who are “renters” typically don’t have true possession of items or ideas. They borrow from other people and the culture around them. Renting can be easy with less responsibility, accountability, time, and fuss. Sometimes it’s a whole lot easier to rent. Let’s face it, copying the answers to the math assignment, plagiarizing the research paper, laughing along with the bully, or blaming the instructor or circumstances for poor grades is simple compared to doing the work, standing up for the bullied or accepting responsibility. The opposite is true for owners. They have the long term in mind instead of the immediate gratification of renters. They do their own math, knowing that practice and knowledge are needed for the final exam. Owners honestly write their research papers in order to develop pride in a job well done. Rather than being a bystander or joining in belittling others, they stand up against the bully to exhibit a strong character and willingness to do what is right. And owners reflect upon failure and learn from their mistakes instead of playing the “blame game”.
A good signal for change is if you are exhausted with interactions with your child. This points to you perhaps taking ownership away from your child, removing responsibilities that are not yours. It is important to remember that your actions can help or hinder your children gaining ownership through working on their characteristics of commitment, endurance, motivation, and pride. By recognizing where you may have delayed your children’s ownership you will be better equipped to make a change to help them in the future.
There is not an immediate way to change your children from renters to owners. The process begins with recognizing a change needs to be made to help your children and yourself. Once you have a change of mindset, start by changing your language and your actions. As the school year begins, help your children take the challenge of owning their education and their life. Help them to LEARN IT, PRACTICE IT, OWN IT.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
What aspects of your child’s life do you see renter’s behavior instead of ownership?
By Megan Stone, M.Ed.
Wife to Rick
Mom of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc.
Author of Own Your Education! A Student’s Guide to Greater Success in School (And Life)
Psychology Today “A Nation of Wimps” by H.E. Marano, published on November 01, 2004.
Last reviewed on February 19, 2013.