Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Dec 21, 2010.
Why am I not surprised by this?
"stay thirsty my friend"
best "most interesting guy in the world" voice
Ha! I didn't even ask anything and we've been talking for three pages (or is it four?)
So now I have a question. How do you develop/impress the need for a strong work ethic in a kid? I won't give details of the specific incident that got me thinking about this, because I don't want us to get distracted by minutiae.
But here's the deal with DS. He will do everything that is required of him and rarely needs to be reminded or nagged. He expresses empathy for other people. He does whatever chores I ask him to do without complaining. But he rarely, if ever, goes above and beyond what he has been asked to do. He seems to want to do what is required then go do stuff for himself. Almost all the time. I see this in terms of personal relationships and in terms of required work, such as school work or housework.
I don't know if this is normal teenager behavior or what. All I have to compare him with is myself. At his age, I never had to be asked or reminded to do anything for others and I often went over and above.
So here are the questions. Am I just being unreasonable and expecting DS to be me? Or is the lack of initiative above what's required a danger sign? And, if I need to address his lack of initiative, do you have suggestions of things I can do to help him see the need to reach out and help others/go over and above in his work life?
I would say that expecting him to do more than what is expected of him is not reasonable. Without going into detail, for years I felt I was a horrible person because even though, like your DS, I fulfilled all my requirements, my mom expected certain "spontaneous" acts that were not spontaneous for me. You did it because it fed something in you. Don't expect his soul to need exactly the same nourishment as yours does.
I never go above and beyond, in my mind. I do what I want to do. I'm sure there are people that think I'm a selfish jerk, and others that think I'm a soft touch.
Thanks. The reality check helps.
to my mind, there are some things that you have to trust that you have planted even if they don't show yet ...or as much as you would like as often as you would like....and you also have to appreciate, as tt notes, that your child will be a different person...his own person...he will take what he wishes to take and become who he wishes to become... he will have his own strengths and weaknesses...and, as he grows closer to adulthood, the amount of molding that you can still do will lessen... as will the degree to which the attempts will be appreciated...you say it once, you move on....as his life circumstances unfold, he will integrate it or not...the other thing is that the way in which kids behave with their mother is NOT reflective of how they interact with others...yes, my kids take me for granted, I am sort of cool with that most of the time...some of that I even want....life is hard ...but, in their other relationships they are far more remarkable
I hope you're right. lol
What is the benefit to going above and beyond?
Hmm. Lessee. Ever heard the expression under promise and over deliver? Going over and above is so valued in this culture that it's a cliché.
But,from my own perspective, going over and above is valuable
In your work life: Being well -perceived, which can lead to promotion, good job references, positive visibility, being selected for projects, etc.
In your personal life: Enhanced relationships with the people you care about.
It's something that I value. But I do hear what tt and fasc are saying. It's something that DS needs to choose for himself. I hope I have set an example for him in that regard. Either it took or it didn't. He gets to choose.
Let me play devil's advocate a bit. I know someone who consistently goes above and beyond in their personal relationships. That person has a unspoken, perhaps unconscious, desire to be everyone's favorite person. When their efforts are not appreciated as anticipated, this person is resentful. They are looking for gratitude, but are often taken for granted.
I know quite a number of people who worked their butts off, going above and beyond what was called for at work, and were still taken for granted, or even worse, layed off.
These people did much more than was expected of them, but they only reaped thorns for those extra efforts.
Going above and beyond, as a way of enhancing how others perceive you, only works if you really understand what those other people will value and show appreciation for.
I would argue that in personal relationships, you only enhance the relationship if you really know what you are doing. In my case, it's definitely hit or miss when I try to do something specifically to please another person.
Because of certain difficulties I have been going through of late, I am turning back to certain spiritual practices of my past. I was listening to a talk on the way to work. The speaker spoke about actions and their fruits. Sometimes, we take an action, with good intentions, with the anticipation of the fruit. But when we do that, we miss the point, as the good fruit is the change that happens in the mind as a result of the good intention.
As I said, I do what I want. I do certain things with good intentions, but without attachment to the physical outcome, because doing with good intent is the actual benefit to me, and if there is a positive physical fruit, that is an incidental bonus that I shouldn't count on.
I love this post ....having been on both the giving end of giving more than someone else wanted and feeling disappointed in the result and having had someone offer me certain supports with what obviously turned out to be hidden expectations of me afterward, I am inclined to avoid the behavior myself unless I simply want to do as much as I can regardless of the outcome...I would be very leery of teaching it as a value .....
exactly TT exactly
pyg ..is he first born??
he is only...she is not first born
A couple things. I'm not sure where I said or even implied that I am teaching DS to be a people pleaser with hidden but unexpressed expectations. I too would hesitate to teach that as a value, since it's pretty neurotic, IMHO. Those are valid observations that are not applicable to the scenarios in which I am concerned about DS's well-being. Was trying to avoid minutiae, but what the heck. (However, tt's post is a great stem for a conversation. I'd love to participate in that conversation, here or anywhere. )
Two. When Joe asked me about benefits, I answered his question. Those are benefits. Expecting those benefits is a set-up for constant disappointment. However, acknowledging they exist is real.
I am talking about scenarios like:
We're doing yard work and my job is to rake the leaves. I'm done, so I choose not to pitch in and help trim the bushes. I'd rather text message my friends.
I have to carry in half the groceries, so I count exactly half the bags and do that but no more.
I know you're sick Mom, but, since you always make breakfast and dinner, I'll wait for you to do that, even though I can do it myself. It would never occur to me to make dinner for you.
I have finished all my homework and note cards half an hour earlier than I expected, so I will spend that half hour playing video games rather than study an extra half hour. (Every so often, fine. Every day seems a problem to me.)
Etc. Typical teenage boy stuff, not the big existential questions. I expect him to be self-absorbed. My question is, is he TOO self-absorbed.
He's an only child. I'm the super baby (the younger of last born twins.)
Oh yeah and I guess, when I was answering Joe, I left out what I consider to be the biggest benefit of all. The value of being of service to others or of service to something larger than oneself. This is something that only you can claim for yourself, but it IS of value and it is something that those who hold this value often do without regard for external rewards and often behind the scenes.
Is there a reward? Sure. Ego stuff, for some people. But self examination in that regard is yet another of those things that DS is going to have to do for himself, so that he can understand his own motives, if he's so inclined.
WOW I would not have guessed I have twin younger sisters and the super bay is well umm errr just that!!
From a work perspective, it demonstrates capability, thinking larger than just what one is tasked to do, and the ability to make the lives of others easier.
It can also demonstrate stupidity if it's wasted energy and inefficiency.
I can only speak for myself, not tt, in saying that I certainly wasn't implying that you were attempting to teach him to be a neurotic people pleaser...in fact, I noted that I have been on both sides of a dynamic of giving more than was expected....
I think, occupationally, doing more than is required is a 50-50 bet...sometimes it is appreciated, sometimes it is exploited.... possibly the same is true in personal relationships as well....all that aside, I think we as parents hope to see our children learn from our example.... part of which, for most of us, includes self self sacrifice beyond which they have ever asked for, but not beyond which, if we do it often enough, they grow to accept as the way it ought to be ...I think we also hope to see signs that they perceive that long before many of them ever do....I think the best we can hope for at junior high and high school are glimpses of that.....my view has always been that life/adulthood is going to bite them in the arse soon enough... might as well allow them some laziness and self-absorption while they can afford it...my kids know that their glory days of lounging are coming to an end...they suffer no delusion that life will be their oyster, so they continue to milk it with me while they can...
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