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Think Like Your Kids - And Understand Them More!

Seven-year old Michael was on a school trip to a Wildlife Centre in Central Scotland. It was near the end of the day and they were in the Gift Shop before boarding the bus for the journey home.

Poor Michael! He couldn't resist the array of lollipops and chocolate animals that beckoned to him. He chose one and was about to pay for it with his last few pennies.

His teacher, a kindly soul with not long before retirement, noticed him. "Have you bought something for your Mum yet, Michael?"

Michael lowered his head in shame! Gently, the teacher took the candy bar from him and replaced it on the shelf.

She walked to another display and selected a small figure made from cheap plastic. "Why not take this for her? You've got just enough money left."

Years have now passed.

Michael is all grown up and has left home, but the figurine still has pride of place in his mum's display cabinet.

Michael still recalls the day he learned an important lesson: "The figure was made of cheap plastic, but my Mum couldn't have treasured it more had it been made of silver, gold or even platinum."

Sometimes we as parents and adults lose our sense of perspective, don't we? What may seem trivial and unimportant to us, can mean so much to a child.

We can learn a useful parenting tip from Michael's mum. The gift had little or no monetary value, but was given - albeit with a gentle nudge from the teacher! - with generosity and a certain amount of personal sacrifice. And by displaying it for years, Michael's mum showed her appreciation of that.

This reminds me of a conference I once attended.

There was a blue rug on the floor and the participants were asked to gather round. It was an exercise in perception, we were told.

The speaker threw a small woollen ball onto the rug. It was exactly the same colour and was made from the same material - so it blended in and seemed to disappear.

'Now find it,' was the instruction. Everyone peered and peered without success, until someone - not me! - got down on his knees and looked from ground level.

Bingo! There was the profile of the ball, rising above the surface of the mat.

Call it 'thinking outside the box' or whatever - but very often problems can be solved by looking at them from another perspective or dimension.

When we learn to think like our children, when we 'get down to their level', when we master the art of getting inside their heads and seeing life from their point of view, the task of raising children becomes much easier - to say nothing of more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Happy parenting!

Why do some parents and children succeed, while others fail? Frank McGinty is an internationally published author and teacher. If you want to develop your parenting skills and encourage your kids to be all they can be, visit his web pages, http://www.frank-mcginty.com/peace-formula.ht ml AND http://www.frank-mcginty.com/for-parents.html

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