Skye Thomas

Skye Thomas
Writer, Rebel, and Soapbox Ranter

Monday, May 14, 2012

Teaching Children How to Succeed - Looking Up Newsletter

May 14th, 2012
Looking Up Newsletter

Hello everyone,

I want to remind you all that this weekend we will get to see a special eclipse. The moon will pass in front of the sun leaving only an outer circle called a ring of fire visible. Please remember to use proper protective eye-wear so that you do not fry your eyeballs. There are plenty of articles online showing how to safely view this weekend’s eclipse. Be safe and have fun!

take care,
Skye Thomas

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Who is Skye Thomas?

Skye Thomas is the CEO of Tomorrow's Edge, an Internet leader in inspiring leaps of faith. Her books, articles, and astrological forecasts have inspired people of all ages and faiths to recommit themselves to the pursuit of happiness. To read more of her articles, previews of her books, and her astrology forecasts, go to To read more about Skye and to read archives of this free weekly newsletter, go to

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Quote of the Week:

Phrases and their actual meanings: "My teacher has never liked me." Expect a phone call before lunch from the teacher informing you that your child has been launching hot dogs by compressing them inside a small Thermos and then removing the lid quickly. - Erma Bombeck

A child is a curly dimpled lunatic. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries. - James Michener

Feature Article of the Week:

Teaching Personal Choice

Years ago when my teenagers were still very young toddlers, I used to devour stacks of library books. I was trying to learn everything I could about parenting and how to break the dysfunctional cycles of my own childhood. One of the books I came across was about how to make sure your kids turned out to be super smart successful types. I was not thinking that I would push them into becoming doctors and presidents so much as I just thought that if they were really smart, then they would not repeat my mistakes. The book was not at all what I thought it would be. It was not a ‘step-by-step how to create genius children’ manual. It gave them a gift that has proven to be so much more important. It taught me the reasons why it was so important to teach them personal choice and that with choice comes accountability. If you want intelligent children that make the kinds of choices that will lead them towards happy successful lives, then teach them to be self-accountable.

The book gave the following types of examples to illustrate the point. When your child comes home from school with bad marks on their report card, you cannot allow the child to make the excuse that the reason their grades are bad is because the teacher hates them and is always grading them unfairly. When they are not good enough to make the soccer team, you cannot allow them to say that it is because the coach does not recognize talent. These things may be true, but that does not really matter. There will always be bosses and other authority figures who do not recognize talent and who do not like us. We still have to do our best and we still have to earn a paycheck. The teacher is not being graded, the child is. It is up to the child to earn those grades even if it means catering to the teacher’s particular whims as to how the work should be presented to them. Adults have to learn how to get promotions and pay raises despite the fact that bosses are too busy or too political to always make the right choices. It is your report card. It is your position on the soccer team. It is your promotion. It is your pay raise. You are the one who wants it. You are the one who is ultimately responsible for making it happen. The teacher, coach, or boss is simply an obstacle that you have to work around.

The other idea was that we should not allow our children to settle for less then their best just because the other kids do not work at their full potential. It was an expanded version of “If all of the other kids were going to jump off of a bridge, would you do it too?” If all the other kids are flunking, are you going to flunk too? If all the other employees are going without promotions and pay raises, are you going to go without too?

We live in a time when a lot of people think that smothering their children with love and understanding is all it takes to get them to grow up happy and bright. All that does is let them know they are loved. It does not teach them how to get what they want out of life. Wealthy families teach their children how to earn money, how to spend money, how to invest money, how to control others with money, how to uplift others with money, and how to live the life of a wealthy person. Whiners teach their children how to complain that nothing is their fault and how to become victims of life. Drug addicts and alcoholics teach their children how to hide from life. Middle class families teach their children how to play it safe, do not risk too much, and do not waste too much. Intellectual families teach their children how to think for themselves. Religious families teach their children how to pray. Adventurous families teach their children how to play.

We teach our children by role modeling what we really believe. If I smoke a pack of cigarettes every day and drink half a bottle of wine every night while I am telling my children to stay off of drugs, you can pretty much bet that my children are going to see me as a hypocrite. They learn what we verbally teach them, but they decide if it is valid information by watching us put it into action. If I say the words, “I love you,” but do not spend any quality time with them, then there is room for doubt. If I tell them to take accountability for their own actions, but then I constantly whine about how everybody is always holding me back from succeeding at my goals, then they are not going to really learn the lessons of self-accountability.

You can be comforting and understanding when they come home broken-hearted because they did not make the team, but you still have to plant that seed that it is up to them to work harder, faster, stronger, smarter. If they really want that goal, then they are going to have to seriously buckle down and earn it. The worst thing you can do is simply hand them success on a silver platter. They will not have any idea how to succeed after you are gone. In theory, someday our children grow up and leave home to become productive members of society. How will they ever succeed at anything if we do not teach them how to stick to a goal and work hard until it is completed? The most important gift we can give them is lessons in tenacity, determination, and the incredible pride that comes from working hard at a goal and finally achieving it. We must role model the same thing for them.

My children have watched me work at self-employment for over ten years. They have seen me fail and lay there crying and broken. They have watched me decide that this goal is too important to give up on and to pick myself back up and keep going again. They have watched me fall on my face and get up and fall on my face and get up again. They have watched other people deliberately and cruelly try to stop me. They have watched me allow other people’s dramas to take precedence over my own goals. They have watched me learn to stay focused and to prioritize what is and is not conducive to success. They have watched me finally figure things out and get things moving in a positive direction and they have watched me reap the rewards of hard work, tenacity, and sacrifice. My kids know how to succeed in life. They know that it takes hard work and determination to accomplish anything of importance. And they know that when they get a bad report card and try to blame the teacher by saying that the teacher hates them, I will say, “That may be true, they very well could hate you, but this isn’t their report card, it’s yours.”

Need someone to talk to about life's challenges?
Skye Thomas is available for life coaching.

Copyright 2005, Skye Thomas, Tomorrow’s Edge

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Tomorrow's Edge
...inspiring leaps of faith

Books, articles, newsletters,
life coaching, and horoscopes.

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