I recognize something as valuable if it’s useful to me now. This means three things:
- I recognize that I need something –
- I have enough knowledge and skill to be at least a little successful with ‘the something’ right away –
- I have enough reserves (time, space, money, support, etc.) to risk trying it –
Basically, value means that it, the product, service, idea, whatever, has a personal benefit to me in real-time.
An extra sounds like something that should be better than value but that’s not always true. Not everyone will agree with your notion of a valuable extra especially if the extra is layered on top of something that isn’t valuable in the first place. An extra is something that isn’t strictly necessary right now which means that it has an implied future value from which I may never benefit.
So consider some of the value and extras that you offer to other people every day. Are you offering valuable ideas or services as I’ve defined here? Are you promoting your offerings with extras that aren’t really worth much? And how about the services, ideas, and products you are offered every day. Do they measure up as valuable?
Now your children
You’ll need to know a great deal about your child to be able to offer value. You’ll need to know his or her real-time needs and real-time skills, his or her real-time desires and real-time reserves (mostly confidence and esteem with peers.) Any advice or guideline you offer must have the three basic value characteristics:
- Your advice or guideline must be recognized as a fix to a real-time problem
- Needs little or no learning curve to make use of the advice or follow the guideline
- Your child has plenty of reserves (confidence and esteem) so risk is low
Offer advice and set guidelines with these three characteristics and your child will see the value. The greater his or her perception of value the more likely your advice or guideline will be followed. Yay!
Caution: Time your extras well
If you’re tempted to add, “It’s important to moisturize every night so that when you’re my age you won’t have so many wrinkles,” or to your 5th grader, “You’ll really need to keep your grades up to get into a good college,” pause first. Yes, these are valuable extras because you’re helping to create good habits and you’re teaching about cause and effect. Yes, keep adding extras but do it in a way that doesn’t block the value of your original offer. Establishing a face-washing routine must first highlight real-time value so initially just focus the real-time stuff. Once the routine is in place and washing face is more habitual you can roll out some extras. In this way the big picture benefits you intend with your extras are absorbed because, to your child, it seems as though you’re offering him or her extra recognition which is valuable confidence boosting that’s useful in real-time.
Related Article: Parenting Promises, Skipping School,
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How has this changed the way you might offer ideas or advice to others?