Are You’re a “High Hopes” Parent?
Quick…what song won an Academy Award for best Song of the Year in 1959?
If you know that piece of trivia, congratulations! It was the song, High Hopes in the movie, Hole in the Head (not the most famous movie, I admit). The song became more popular after Frank Sinatra recorded it in 1961.
In the wake of today’s turbulence, the lyrics seem banal:
Next time you're found, with your chin on the ground,
There a lot to be learned, so look a - round.
Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant?
Anyone knows an ant can't move a rubber tree plant,
But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes…
And an ant probably can’t move a rubber tree plant by itself, but if it kept hopeful enough, it’s probability of success increases, because with a hopeful attitude, inspiration has a place to strike. And with hope, resiliency reigns. Without it, despair can paralyze and slow down effective solutions to a standstill.
High hopes may seem like a myth when we look around today at all the suffering, fragmentation, unhappiness, and outright fear, terror, and paranoia. Yet, brain research continues to amass data that hopeful people are more effective problem solvers. What’s more, it is very clear that what we pay attention to grows. And conversely, what we fail to give our attention to, shrinks. If we focus on our hope, our hope grows. If we are awash in despair…well, that, of course, washes out our hope.
Are we noticing our son’s strengths or are we overwhelmed by his lack of motivation? If we don’t pay attention to his strengths, those surely won’t grow and the “problem” of motivation will surely increase. Are we noticing our daughter’s thoughtfulness or do we always comment on her grumpiness? That’s the way to make the grumpiness grow. The human brain isn’t a whimsical device that acts randomly. No, it acts according to a finely-tuned set of principles. And one of those major principles is that the focus of our attention span, to a large degree, creates the reality we experience. There has been much academic research on the subject. In fact, Appreciative Inquiry, one of the cornerstones of the PCI coaching model is a process methodology that stems from this research. Appreciative Inquiry itself has been researched to work powerfully because it applies strategies with the human brain’s propensities in mind.
Copyright © Gloria DeGaetano, 2009. All rights reserved. No reprinting rights granted without the author’s permission.
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