In Lesson 5, we talked about letting go of perfectionism so your child and you can thrive in a classical school. In this lesson, we look at how what we say (or don’t say) can help us to do this. It’s a brief lesson; but, “even though it’s simple, it’s not easy.”
Lesson 6. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all: looking for the good
It’s been our experience that families who choose Trinitas are intentional about education. They’re looking for something “better”, and they have high standards. This most often creates a positive and exciting environment for parents, children, and staff. Occasionally, these attitudes can have a less positive effect. To illustrate, I’ll share a story. I remember taking our oldest daughter to an information night at the high school she was planning to attend–we had some superior attitudes about coming from a classical education. Her dad and I pretty quickly got into a discussion about the negatives of technology in the classroom with a (sympathetic) teacher. (Truth be told, it was probably more like a rant.) After we returned home, I realized that we had said and done nothing to help our daughter see this school as a good place to go. All we did was increase her anxiety. Since that evening, we’ve tried to do a much better job of looking for the good in that high school. Not surprisingly, we’ve discovered that there’s quite a lot of it. So, our advice after fourteen years at Trinitas? Don’t underestimate the effect your attitude has on your child (and on you) for better or for worse.
1. Try not to complain. Not to your children. Not in the parking lot. And, only minimally to your spouse or other close confidant. We’re certainly not trying to stifle discussion or improvement. We just want to give a warning to be very careful about negativity.
2. If something dissatisfies you, first, look for the good in it. Then, if needed, look for a positive way to make a change. Approach relevant people with humility, charity, and the attitude that “we are all on the same team.” The idea is to “build each other up” with what we say and do.
3. Regularly offer words of encouragement to those around you.
In the next lesson, we’ll say something more about staying positive, but specifically with respect to authority.