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Archive for October, 2014

Internal vs External Motivation

Some background and situations are provided in my previous blog – parenting style, in relation to my child’s swimming (attached below for intro) and character development.

Background (In the area of swimming: i teach him sports discipline, the value of training, following coach’s instructions, executing it the right way. I act as an “assistant” coach, by shouting key words to him like kick faster, harder, faster hand strokes. I force him to train everyday whether he lies it or not. I told him, you will know the reward when the time comes (competition). I love him whether he wins or loses but it is just a waste if he failed because he wasn’t disciplined enough or just didn’t train enough. We can offer rewards for each time they obey, collect points or stars, have Jollibee afterwards.)

All these things i mentioned are all external motivations though they are all good facts, and works one way or another. It will not get our children very far. It might even work only when we are there with them. A much better approach is INTERNAL MOTIVATION.

In the writing of pastor Edmund Chan, he mentioned that we gravitate towards living by the external – We live by rules, a list of Dos and Don’ts. We live to impress people, have as many likes and approvals in our Fb pages and articles. Yet, deep inside it is empty and different. So we pass this on to our children. We want them to perform, to make us look good, to have good behavior in front of people. Sometimes, this frustrates us deeply when they fail and make mistakes.

Internal motivation addresses the heart issues. It motivates the dream of what he can become when he unleashes his full potential. This approach will take more time and gentle dialogue, showing him real inspiring true stories of discipline and perseverance, what the outcome of these disciplines come to. It is geared more on the reasoning side, casting a vision of the future. If he catches it, then he will be motivated from within.

So in the case of my child’s swimming, i have to talk to him and get him on the same boat. I have to ask him a lot of questions like: do you want to be a champion swimmer? Do you like to be number 1? Definitely, he answered “yes!” Then i give the reasons why – that is why we need the discipline to train and practice, that is why you need to listen to coach and execute his commands and instructions. I have to show him champion swimmers like Michael Phelps, how long he trains and so on.

Motivating him goes with the gentle tone and not with the authoritarian/dictatorial tone of “Train now!” With it, goes the importance of doing his best, and teaching him the balancing concept of just an “Empty cup” and “Life is more than just winning.” We love you whether you win of lose. We just want you to give it your best. It will be nice to watch movies of victory and defeat – Cars, Turbo, Facing the Giants, and so on. Teaching him lessons of being a good sport, congratulating the winners, not calling losers “losers” with an L on your forehead.

I often remind myself, it is a lifetime of learning. We can’t learn it all in one sitting. We have to be patient and trust God and surrender our kid’s hearts to Him. We can not change people, only God can. So it is our duty as parents to pray for our children and by God’s grace, they’ll turn up good.

There are now several books in the market lie Shepherding a child’s heart by Tedd Tripp, the Christian Parenting Handbook by Scott Turansky, and so on. Hope they will be a tool for us to be equipped in our parenting. They are full of practical tips and guides to help us deal with other situations in the family.

Again, i am a fellow father with all my flaws and short comings. I haven’t master all these things. As i write this, i am reminded and in the process of doing these myself. So continue to pray for me to be a better patient and loving father. God bless you all.

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