True progress is hard and it takes time. In our society, it’ much easier and profitable to sell a false promise and easy way out. Lose 30 pounds in 30 days anyone? It certainly sounds more appealing than eat healthy, move your body, build muscles, etc.
I’m going to put my daughter on the spot (again) because her story is so relatable.
She got into playing an online horse game a couple years ago, so naturally, I decided to help realize her dream. Yes, she did ask for a pony, and no, I didn’t get her a pony. I started taking her horseback riding and grooming. After our first full-fledge ride, I expected overwhelming excitement and gratitude from my little horse lover, but instead she told me “real horses stink and I can jump and gallop so much faster in my game.” She was disappointed, and as was I. Her virtual horsemanship was so comfortable that it deters and demoralizes her from making progress in real horsemanship. It’s what happens when we live in fantasy. (How many children’s fantasy are parent-created bubbles?)
Don’t go for quick fixes because true progress is hard and it takes time. Life is not an online game, but in this generation, our children have had to grow uphill with competing fantasies that are addictive and satisfying whether it is instant internet access or always counting on Mom or Dad to bail them out. From this point of view, is it easier to give your kids and yourself more compassion when you eagerly desire or impatiently demand change.
By compassion, I don’t mean being laxed and lenient, but merely accepting their children–including what they can and cannot do at the moment because that is your reality and starting point for change. Ground yourself with this perspective, and it’s much easier to “catch them being good” or “catch yourself being good.” I know what curaJOY is “selling” might be a bitter pill. We sugar coat the old-fashion character education like persistence and hard work in a fun, game-like learning program, but it’s still a bitter pill. In order to get children to attain true progress, our software assesses their current levels and then challenge (and sometimes intentionally frustrate) them. There’s no way to learn patience if you’ve never had to wait. There’s no way to learn how to negotiate and deal with difficult people, if all those obstacles have been removed for you.