practice, practice, practice

Skip and I have been particularly drawn lately to a recent finding among child development researchers that children who are praised for effort, rather than outcome, tend to try harder and achieve more over their lifetime. So, we try to keep that in mind when, as solid citizens in our generation of parenting peers tend to do, we are constantly affirming and praising our children.

But just recently, it's occurred to me, as someone who often feels a little lost at sea if no one has told her recently how well she's doing, that even the "right" praise can be manipulative and unhelpful. For example, my parents unquestionably meant well, but their praise was overloaded with meaning and value to me. As a child of divorce especially, constantly looking for the reassurance that they weren't about to divorce me, I came to depend deeply and -- I see now -- a little neurotically on their validation of me. Consequently, I worked hard to be however, and whoever, was going to elicit that much needed pat on the back and assurance of security.

I've got a long way to go but, I'm working on -- at 41! -- learning how to validate my own efforts in life, without looking to someone else, and without requiring a specific outcome. It requires a depth of honesty about why I'm doing what I do -- what my intent is, who I'm trying to impress, etc. -- which I try to give, but I recognize that I do sometimes hide the truth from myself.

That's all I have to say today. I'm out of the time I've allotted for practicing.

Practicing, practicing, practicing -- without being overly-attached to outcome. Hey, good job, Phoebe!

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