I recently attended a manager’s meeting at work where we discussed employee development. The leader emphasized that we should not just try to improve weak areas in our employees, but also focus on building on their already existing strengths.
It sounds obvious, perhaps, but how often do we think “employee development” and “fixing problems” are synonymous?
And how often does the same hold true with our children? If your child struggles with reading, you make them read more, right? When spelling is the difficult subject, how many times do you make them rewrite that list of words to practice until it’s perfect? If those multiplication tables just won’t stick, you drill those flash cards until they do.
What about taking the opposite approach? The struggling reader might have a propensity for math, or an interest in science. It’s so easy to get bogged down trying to “fix” things that we don’t often take the time to work on improving what’s already good.
In this particular example, perhaps a book about math or science could help improve the child’s reading skills as well as capitalize on the interest they may have in a subject in which they are skilled. And if your child is a great reader, encouraging them to read higher level books could be a great stretch goal (to use that corporate lingo that inspired this post in the first place).
So, for once, I’m going to do something I try really, really hard NOT to do – I’m going to take my work home with me. What I learned about employee development, I’m going to try to apply to my children’s development as well. I’m going to do what I do in other areas of my life – I’m going to focus on the positive.
(Of course, my children are perfect anyway, so this should be a piece of cake, right? Ha ha…)
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She also is organizer for Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly on Wednesday.