Feedback is a driving force, be it from friends, strangers or clients.
Now, consider the below comment I received more than a decade back…
“…. Sir, I know you are really investing a lot of time and trying your best to teach my son who is an idiot. We have long lost hope. Now we want you to invest your time in your studies rather on our boy, as we have decided to stop his tuition starting today. “
This was a diplomatic ‘no’ from a parent that I received, way back in 2003.
Allow me to give you a background to this…
The one reason that I was asked to stop my services was because I refused to give physical punishment to the 4th grader. Yes, it was easy for an adult to give physical punishment to youngsters especially when you are a teacher.
One of the “behavior lessons” that I believe in is – “One gentle hit for a cow and one gentle word to a good man” will keep them working. Though I had received physical punishments as a child, I decided not to pass it on that culture.
When you run out of logic and are lost for words to defend and counter, you resort to physical assault to overcome the other person.
I always loved watching kids and engaging in child development discussions. And this led to some parents requesting me to counsel tweens and teenagers.
One of my earlier aha moments was when a young lad turned and asked his dad, “Papa, uncle brain doctor hai kya?” (Dad, is uncle a brain doctor?)
In another incident, one kid asked his mom, “Amma, is he a behavior teacher for anna?” (Mom, is he brother’s behavior teacher?)
Talking is something that I enjoy most. Years ago, in my early 20s, when I was talking to one of my friends who was then going through some emotional issues, she said, “Your suggestions are matching with my father’s suggestions almost by 95%.” And to think her dad was 50+ experienced man, was a pleasant compliment!
Today, when I learnt one of my students told his mom that she sounds like me, I was once again grateful and yet surprised if they were being sarcastic.
Similarly, several of my friends have told me that my hold-no-barrels-open talks make them laugh out loud and that they enjoy having deep conversations with me.
Now, this is in stark contrast to the opinion people had about me until a few years back. People considered me a ‘serious’ individual who hardly smiled. I can attribute that to the environment that I grew up in.
You can always change your behavior.
A mix of multiple activities that I consciously cultivated and the time I give to understand different behaviors by different people under different situations has finally changed my behavior for good.
My Aha moments with kids’ responses and surprisingly shocking remarks by adults are testimonies of the change in my behavior.
As the saying goes, “Rome can’t be built in a day”, so also your behavior can’t be changed overnight. But they sure can be changed over time.
As parents and guardians, it is easy to ask youngsters to change their behaviors.
The question is do we guide them in the process? Do we hold their hands in the process? Do we take time to explain why they have to change their behavior?
Question yourself today: Am I ready to change my behavior? If so, what behavior do I need to change?
Wishing you loads of happiness and health
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