Sunday, May 18, 2008

successes, too

Looking back and looking back at the previous post, we learn from our mistakes, but when things go well, we also learn from our successes - our victories. We learn to relax, to trust. We learn to trust ourselves - our intuition, our skills, our wisdom, our insight, other people - all personal and hard-won but ultimately God-given. We learn to trust God as separate from ourselves. And we learn to trust Christ in us and His grace.

Yes, we're human beings, not animals. Yet, it would be interesting to look at praise, reward and correction in scripture - not man to man so much as God to man - how He teaches, how He trains.

Animals learn how to listen to their instincts and environmental signals. They can learn to react or to relax. They learn whether to expect things to go well or badly often based on past experience.

We learn those things, too. When we have something to overcome, there are ways we can engineer those encounters over and over so things go well a little at a time, so we learn to trust ourselves and expect the best instead of the worst in certain situations.

We can be attentive to those needs in children. I don't mean coddle them when what they need is to be praised and rewarded for being brave or for trying something new or for trying something hard or scary. We can set a child up to succeed and to grow confidence even when all they know is failure. They need to hear us say with confidence "You can do this!"

God help us do that for the children we love.

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