Not long ago a study was released explaining kids are negatively affected when we tell them they’re good at something. It sounds crazy, I know, but the article said if we say to our kids they’re good musicians or good athletes, they feel an enormous amount of pressure to live up to the expectations we’ve unknowingly set. The study found kids are much better off if we say great job scoring that goal or you sounded really good in practice today. The difference, the study suggested, is we’re praising what a kid did rather than praising his or her identity based on select criteria. In other words, when we say you’re a good musician what the kid hears is you only matter if you’re a good musician and you should fear losing that status but when we say you sounded great in practice today what the kid hears is you sounded great in practice today, nothing more and nothing less. Their identity has nothing to do with whether they’re a good musician or not.
There are a group of 1700 of us in San Diego this weekend for the Storyline Conference. We have heard from a great group of speakers, and we are all learning what it means to live a meaningful story. We didn’t want to leave the rest of you out, so we are sharing the best quotes from the conference.
This Friday night I had nothing to do. I waited for a text. From anyone. To do anything. None came. I waited for a call. None came. Couldn’t my mom even call me? Nope. I had nothing to do with anyone. I sat on my couch and tried to relax but my thoughts turned dark like they do when I’m suddenly aware of my alone-ness. I begin to wonder if I have any friends. I start to count them and then find reasons that none of them are actually my friends. I mean, if I had friends, wouldn’t I have plans on a Friday night? I have no friends, I never have and never will. I wish I could say I’m exaggerating about my thoughts but I’m not. They actually go there. They actually get that dark and desperate.