Having a misunderstanding about procrastination can easily create a lot of conflict and stress in parenting, especially in the day-to-day challenge of homeschooling. Identifying the issue and making a specially kind of LIST can help change everything for the better.
Is the procrastination myth hurting your child? Well, I know we’re all concerned about things hurting our child but you may not even be aware that procrastination is really a myth and what I mean by that is there’s no such thing. Now, wait a minute, I know you can look it up in the dictionary and it says putting off something that you want to do or something like that; how it needs to be done. Well, everything could be considered procrastination that way whatever you’re not doing right now you’re watching this video and you’re not doing something else. Is that procrastination or is that a great use of your time?
I’ve got a son right now who is a sophomore in college and he wants to get married someday. Is he procrastinating marriage? And the answer is no.
He doesn’t want to get married. And you know, the funny thing about procrastination is that the problem is not putting off. The problem is motivation.
You don’t want to. Your child doesn’t want to. Let me tell you if you don’t mind me sharing this, I am still to this day, as a grown fellow, rumored and understood in my family among the remaining siblings that I’m… I’m the king of procrastination. I have all the kids growing up that never was doing what supposed to be doing. I was the procrastinator in the family. And yet as it turned out I’ve still been able and god’s kindness to get a lot done. Including successfully with my wife homeschooling five kids to college. I’ve got an earned doctorate and master’s degree and undergraduate degree. I spent sometime in law school of written. Eight or nine books. It’s tough, as a procrastinator. See, we’re all procrastinators, that’s why it’s a myth. We are all engaged in doing things we want to do and don’t want to do. That’s my story once I figured it out. I could stop being weird and guilty and inducing guilt and shame and problems on the kids.
So look, just be honest. What is it that you want? You want to do the things you wanna do. What is it that your child wants? He or she wants to do the things she wants to do.
That would not be a problem. As long as long the both of you wanted the exact things. And that’s why it hurts. There’s pain that comes from that. There is a conflict that comes from it and there’s a loss of energy. The amount of time you spend trying to get yourself to do something you don’t want to do. The amount of energy you try to spend getting a child to do something he or she doesn’t want to do is exhausting. That’s what you want. You want everybody to be doing what they want to do and what they want to do to be the right thing. So, the solution seems to be really obvious to me and it’s not to give up. It’s not to say they should learn math if they don’t want to or they shouldn’t go to their youth group if they don’t want to or they shouldn’t be involved in physical activity if they don’t want to and they shouldn’t eat whatever they want to. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying this, what you want to do is come up with more reasons why. For yourself, if you have something you really want to do in your fine hesitation. Spend some time on thinking through reasons why.
There’s more to it than that. But there’s so much leverage just there. Make a list of reasons why you want to do something. Don’t do your taxes? Why don’t you sit down and make a list of all the reasons you want to have your taxes completed and what it would mean positive to you. Your child doesn’t want to learn his math tables? Why don’t you work on thinking through all the reasons, it’s going to be great to do that. And some of them may have to do with his or her own time. And how once they learn them, they get to do something else. This is where some basic parental common sense come into play. Many times we give our children reasons to do things in the way of reward and consequences. Sometimes, they just need to know what we want but that’s the key.
Recognize it’s a myth is just about one two’s and then do the thing. Sit down and work out some clear reasons why you or they should want to do it. And you’ll see things change.
Off to learn,
Fred Ray Lybrand
Here’s a sample of the ideas contained in The One Success Habit (You Can’t Do Without) on time management
…this is important for every child to understand and learn!
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Maybe what you don’t like happening is your fault. Maybe you are encouraging the wrong
things in your life. Success is clearly about communication, and we communicate
in many subtle ways. It may just simply be that you are communicating to others
that you want THE OPPOSITE of what you really want.
Just ask, “How am I encouraging ______________________?”
What does your mind tell you ?
Great…now think about how to encourage something different. If you only have
creeps coming up and talking to you, change what you are wearing (or where you
go). If only marginal people apply for the job, change the amount you’ll pay and
where you look for employees.
You may get the idea…but you won’t learn it until you practice it!
Fred Ray Lybrand
So, I’m sitting here at my desk and I’m looking around my office of about 1400 books (another few thousand) are in the garage in boxes (yes, it is possible that I have an addiction).
As I look at them, I realize that some of them I have never read and some of them I have read two or three times. Why would I buy a book and not read it? Why, in fact, would you buy a book (Kindle counts) and not read it? The answer is really simple…it isn’t interesting to you. I know you have been thinking it is about discipline, but why in the world would you be obligated to read a book just because you bought it?
Well, Dr. Lybrand, it’s a waste if we don’t read books we buy. Really? I’m thinking many of us would be better off intellectually if we had skipped Twilight (even if we bought it). Also, you don’t think it is a waste to not watch every show on TV/Cable, etc. [if that’s your thing], do you?
Most of us haven’t come to grips with a reality about our reading— if the book isn’t worth reading to you, then don’t read it (not saying the kids shouldn’t read their school books!). I came to realize many years ago that NOT EVERY WORD in a book is equally important. I also noticed that once I got what I wanted from a book, I couldn’t find a good reason to finish it.
So, as I pondered the issue of reading I realized that one of my biggest issues was that I wanted to be able to tell someone who asked me that I had read it. Really? Yep, that was me. So, as I thought a little more, I realized two things:
1. What I really wanted from the book was what I really wanted from the book2. It was a waste of time and energy to try and make myself read something that I didn’t really care about
Ah! All I needed was a way to describe what I did with books, so I borrowed a term from the pirate lore:
“Have you read this book?” they ask. “Even better, I plundered it.” I answer. This leads to a conversation about how pirates would go onto a ship and remove the treasures and leave the junk. That is what I aim to do with a book. I want to grab the treasure and leave the junk. Now, sometimes that means I read a book SEVERAL TIMES in order to plunder it. Sometimes the treasure is dense in a chapter or two, so I plunder again until I get every gem.
I think this approach to reading allows me to understand and recall a lot more than most folks because I’m not wading through a cargo hold of salty water and ruined packages.
Why don’t you give it a try? Take a book on your list or shelf and give it a plunder. Plan to ONLY READ the stuff you find fascinating and valuable; in fact, read some of that twice! You might just be amazed at what happens! Oh, and if it works and you are chatting about plundering at a dinner engagements…please give me some credit! 😉
Nick Saban a perfectionist? Maybe, maybe not. Jody & I met while were were attending the University of Alabama and saw the Tide win two national championships back then.
Saban wins partly because he has standards that he holds his players to. If standards are high enough, then perfection is the end game. Now, I say all of this to tell you that if you have standards yourself that flirt with perfection, then you are probably making your self/spouse/kids/employees miserable.
There are three simple reasons perfection isn’t worth it:
1. SEEKING PERFECTION GUARANTEES DISCOURAGEMENT
Think about it. Perfection means you must compare where you are currently to where you can likely never get in this lifetime. It’s like trying to catch the horizon (good luck with that). When you compare your results with perfection you lose perspective. When you compare your results with the past you gain perspective. Back in the late 70’s there appeared a pop button ‘PBPGINFWMY’ which stood for, “Please be patient; God is not finished with me yet.” If you aren’t there and there is basically unachievable, then bummer.
2. SEEKING PERFECTION IS A TIME VAMPIRE
In the 1600s Bishop Joseph Hall noted that “Perfection is the child of Time.” That’s really the best shot we have…enough time with enough tweaking and maybe, just maybe, it can be perfect. As Sweet Brown put it, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
3. SEEKING PERFECTION DOESN’T MATTER ENOUGH TO MATTER AT ALL
98% is plenty good for almost everything (and the other 2% just ain’t worth it). Think about college— a 98 and a 100 are both still an A(+). Is the energy required for that extra 2% worth it? Rarely.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have standards, nor am I saying we shouldn’t strive to do our best (whatever that is?). Instead, I’m suggesting that on the extreme of having perfection as a standard simply doesn’t produce much practical good in any endeavor.
In our writing training we encourage students to work from OK to GET HELP to MAKE IT GREAT. In this way people can get started. Frankly, you can’t start with perfect. I’m also pretty sure you can’t end there either!
I’d love your thoughts!
Off to learn,Fred Ray Lybrand
P.S. If you want the shortcut to ending perfectionism and the other mistaken ways we think about how to ‘do’ life…check out our course on MASTERING EMOTIONS