Are Your Kids Lazy?
As a kid, my parents used to take me to Cape Cod every summer for a two-week-long vacation. We would meet there with family, friends, and friends of friends and would hang out together all day and evening for the duration of our stay. These trips are definitely some of the best memories I have of my childhood.
One summer, my aunt invited her nephew from Paris to join us. I was 14 and he was 18. He was very sophisticated, very charming, very playful, and very tall, dark and handsome. I had a bit of a crush on him.
We had a wonderful time teasing one another, flirting and having several intimate conversations together on the beach. At the time, he left quite the impression on me!
Once the vacation was over, he returned to Paris and I never heard his voice again…
…that is, until last week.
He found my number on Facebook and left me a voice message:
“Kim, you won’t believe it! It’s Francois,” he said in his heavy Parisian accent.
“We were together in Cape Cod many years ago. It would be wonderful to speak to you again and hear how you are doing.”
I was floored. It was a blast from the past that definitely put a smile on my face. We scheduled a call shortly thereafter.
The moment we got on the call, it was like no time had passed. It was familiar territory even as adults. He was still sophisticated and charming, and we shared intimate details of our lives without hesitation.
I found out he was separated from his wife after 17 years of marriage and was now looking for “real love.”
If you’re feeling the suspenseful build-up and wondering where this romance leads – I will tell you right now… NOWHERE! I am a happily married woman and he lives in Paris!
However, the conversation got super interesting for me when he began to talk about his two teenage kids and said, “it’s very disappointing and I don’t know how it happened, but my kids are very lazy. They have no motivation.”
I could feel myself tensing up. My immediate thought (that I kept to myself) was that him thinking about his kids as lazy was certainly NOT going to motivate them! In fact, thinking about any kid in a negative light does nothing to inspire change or help them find the right path. What it does is endorse and cement a negative view of them.
Kids ALWAYS live up to your expectations. If you see them as lazy, what you get is lazy. If you see them as unmotivated, what you get is unmotivated. The question is, what evidence are you collecting to form this vision of them?
For Francois, the evidence that he collected was that…
-his kids don’t come home with 90%+ averages in school
-a 78% is just mediocre and will amount to nothing
-his children do not work hard in school, and are therefore lazy
-by contrast, he himself wasn’t like that as a teenager
-he was driven to be at the top of his class
-it must be the children’s mother’s fault
The truth is, as a father, he was simply concerned about the success and well-being of his children. His kids were not adopting his path to success and this led him to envision very poor outcomes for them.
Unfortunately, he did not view the effort his daughter made to plan his 50th surprise birthday party or his son’s determination to beat his friends at Zelda as anything but nonsense and useless distractions.
We all want what’s best for our children and we try super hard to encourage them to follow a path that will lead to success. But sometimes, our best intentions lead us to thinking things, doing things and saying things that end up eroding their ability to chart their own course that, while different from ours, can still be valuable and fulfilling.
Reflect for a minute. What do you think of your kids? Do you ever think they’re lazy? How can you think about them in ways that will inspire them to live up to their potential? Do you need some help with this?