Help Him Master a Problem
As Jack found out, mastering an activity that is challenging and important is critical to future success. I’m not saying that a child has to become the best at something. Being the best is the false idol our culture worships. What matters is making progress.
Getting better at an activity is the single most powerful force for building a child’s self-esteem and confidence.
Mastery is also a powerful motivator. Parents ask me, “How can I motivate my child?” The answer is to set him up to achieve mastery — to make progress — at an activity that is challenging and important to him.
Any child or adult wants to do more of what he gets better at. But trying to master an activity can have a downside. If, try as your child might, he doesn’t get better and only feels frustration, this step can become a confidence buster, a de-motivator.
It is imperative for a parent or teacher to set up a child to make progress. Every child can get better at just about everything, given encouragement and tutelage.
Step Five: Give Recognition