Peggy D. Sideratos
Teach Children: Your Best Effort is the Greatest Gift You Can Give Yourself
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
Hello dear friends. I hope today is the start of a beautiful and blessed week for you and those you love.
Today I want to talk about teaching children to take pride in their work. This is something my late father consistently tried to instill in my brother and I. He continuously repeated the same phrase to us, in Greek, that translates to the following, “If you’re going to do a job, you should put forth your best effort. If you’re not going to do that, don’t do it at all.”
As a teacher I would consistently try to instill this value into my students. In my classroom, I would come across children with different personality styles. There were a few that were perfectionists and would struggle to complete their work because they feared making mistakes or didn’t like the way their project or handwriting looked. These kids needed to be reminded that as long as they did their best, the work did not have to be perfect. Other children would compare their work with the quality or style of others. Many times, this behavior would promote feelings of insecurity among them and others. They needed to be told that comparing their work or themselves to others was unproductive and a waste of time because it would diminish their individual styles. Then, there were some that would just rush through their work to get it done without giving it the care and attention it deserved. Generally, their work would be sloppier and usually contained more errors. To them I always had to pose the question, “Is this truly your best work?” Some would rush to answer “Yes,” but when I looked into their eyes and asked, “Really?” they would decide to take back their work and improve it.
Whether the child was the perfectionist, the insecure one who compared themselves, the speedy one, or some other personality type, what I needed to remind them all of was to be proud of the work they did. I explained, it didn’t have to be perfect, because we are all on a forever learning journey and making mistakes along the way is perfectly normal. Finishing first or last didn’t matter either, as long as the work reflected our best efforts. I explained that their work was a reflection of them and the care that they took to prepare it, and it also showed the respect they had for themselves. When the kids are finished with their homework, classwork, or a project they are working on, ask them, “Does this work reflect your best effort?” because “Doing your best, and being proud of your efforts is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.”
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