By Robert J. Flower, Ph.D.
Today’s busy families have become experts at navigating complex schedules. But even when a household is humming happily along, it’s all too easy to become preoccupied with just getting to the end of the daily to-do list — an accomplishment that’s satisfying, but fleeting. This lifestyle can cause parents to miss a simple but important parenting opportunity: Teaching children to look at — and plan for — the larger picture.
The immediate benefits for kids are many, including improved organization, enhanced functionality and creativity. This simple practice can help children build character and develop their potential, while making parents’ lives easier and more fulfilling.
So, what principles specifically should parents and grandparents focus on in order to design a course of action to build our child’s future? One of the major findings at the Gilchrist Institute for Achievement Sciences is what we call the Human Character Formula. In our 35 years of research and development in the areas of Potential achievement, we’ve discovered there are three major objectives of our formula which bring us to a desired result. They are Power, Control and Action.
The Power Principle states that what we focus on, and what we believe about that focus, will always equate to what is expressed. Teaching children to focus on and work toward longer-term goals will help them develop the internal power and strength that ultimately drive the fulfillment of potential and achievement. Essentially, this is planning; having a good plan will always generate a strong path.
A specific example of the power of Focus is setting objectives. Whether 6 or 60 years old, setting objectives including one’s purpose, mission or goals creates a powerful mindset. This is especially true for the fertile minds of our children.
The area of Control equates to organization. There are six principles to organizing: Models, Procedures, Measure, Details, Wholeness and Feedback. Let’s look at each separately.
This incorporates factors such as rules, laws, and principles to follow. When one organizes via a model, they seek out an existing example and imitate it. You can see this at work when observing two- and three-year-olds; you say or do something, and they copy it. It’s not much different for us adults — we follow our adopted models professionally, personally and otherwise.
Here, we follow steps. A defined set of orders; patterns are established for one to proceed with. We tell the kid/adult, if you do this, this and this — then here is what will occur. Math, arts, sports are just some examples of following procedures for results, along with a routine discussion about given steps to take.
This incorporates factors such as priorities and assessment. We are constantly implementing this principle. It’s a priority to balance our budget. We also apply a measure of what is important to us. Is it more important to utilize our funds for kid’s education rather than for a luxury car? Kids should be taught good eating as a priority. This way they can enjoy a moderate degree of sweets vs. sweets at any time they wish and then generate obesity.
This includes parts, components, segregating matters. If the kid/adult doesn’t look at the parts of a matter they will always be dealing in generalities. This restricts one from totally comprehending the ins and outs of things. A good example here is teaching kids to do math by mechanics, such as by calculator, versus a mental procedural model.
Look at the whole picture. This relates to synchronicity, and integration. Today, we don’t teach our children a complete structure, we teach them content. If content does not fit into an overall, whole picture, we lose structure. When we lose structure, chaos follows. Intelligence is defined as recognizing the parts, details, data and applying them to an overall comprehensive picture.
This is critical to everyone, not just children. The ability to objectively, impartially assess our actions according to reactions from our environment is a major key not only with organization but with development. Is your child rejecting “negative” or critical feedback? If so, advancement is a long way off. Too often parents consider Feedback personally, subjectively. When that happens, the value of Feedback for advancing to success is lost.
To illustrate how one can bring all these principles together and put them into action, I offer a personal story from my own kid/adult experience: When I was a teenager, after my father died suddenly, I felt lost. Soon after, it came to me that if I wanted to survive, or better, succeed; I had to start right then. I developed the objective that, “Little Bob needs to take care of big Bob.”
I realized that things such as savings and earnings, emotional control, experience and self-worth needed to be developed. Accordingly all of this needed to happen now — as a young man. That formula/objective has worked very, very well in my life. The earlier kids learn to develop these skills, the better their later lives will be.
Dr. Robert Flower is founder and director of the Gilchrist Institute for Achievement Sciences, a sociopolitical/ economic think tank established in 1982. Dr. Robert Flower has dedicated himself to the study of Potential and the best ways to fully achieve it. Through his discovery of the Laws of Potential and the development of Natural Intelligence and Thinking, Dr. Flower has created the Student Success Academy (SSA).
Dr. Flower has been acknowledged in print, radio and television as one of the world’s leading authorities on Potential and Achievement. He has been an advisor and consultant for companies such as IBM and Chrysler as well as the State of New York and former governor Malcolm Wilson. He was a Professor of Economics, at West Point and Business Management at Mercy College in New York. He was also a Professor of Philosophy at Seton College in New York.
He has written five books and a downloadable workbook describing “Natural Thinking and Intelligence,” the cornerstone of the Science of Achievement. In Decoding Potential, A Revolution in Understanding, Your Exceptional Mind and How We Analyze, Understand and Decide Things, he describes how our 13 Natural Intelligences define our natural potential and work together to enable achievement, as well as how to overcome obstacles that restrict our success.
Robert J. Flower, Ph.D., Director, The Gilchrist Institute for the Achievement Sciences | Bronxville, NY (914) 779.6299
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