How to Teach Your Child to Focus
One of the best things I have come across about the concept of focus is one that converts the word to an acronym for Follow One Course Until Successful. It summarily captures the essence of the word and simplifies it, or maybe even demystifies it.
So right now, as I am typing this article, a thought crosses my mind to put a call through to my sister to check up on her and a project we are working on together and just as I am thinking I should reach for my phone and make the call, a counter thought is saying, “But you are writing about focus”, and so I am continuing to write this article. I am following one course until successful and will be distracted only by an emergency (God forbid) or maybe the sound of my baby waking from sleep in the next room.
This simple decision to not leave one course of action to rush to another course of action until I’m successful at this one thing is a clear depiction focus.
There will always be a thousand and one things to do but focus ensures that we successfully complete one thing, attain desired results, and then we can move on to the next thing.
This article is the second installment in the five-part series I started last week on teaching your child to be a leader.
To be a leader, your child needs to be a focused person and the simple reason for this is that focus will ensure that they build the discipline and resilience required to pursue and accomplish goals; complete tasks in record time; have results for their focused efforts; become a reliable person who gets the job done; and build capacity to dream big and do the work needed to make their dreams come to reality. This life of focus and results sets the child apart as a leader.
Going back to our definition of a leader as a person who lives a life worthy of emulation such that others are influenced to be better, being focused will shape your child into a person who leaves a trail of results in his or her life that invariably inspires others to aspire and achieve. Remember, leadership is influence.
So how can you teach your child to be focused?
Be Focused Yourself
Teaching by example always works so let your child see you start and complete tasks whether it is fixing something that is broken; helping them complete an assignment from school; encouraging them to keep going until house chores are done; or sharing stories about projects you helped to complete at work or other organisations where you play a vital part.
This firsthand experience of the value you place on starting and finishing tasks will do much good in shaping their view of work and the need to stay on course when they commit to something.
Encourage them to Finish What they Start
Children are known to have a new goal almost everyday or even several in a day. So, they often start a thing and then lose interest in it after a while for a number of reasons ranging from realizing the amount of work involved to just plain boredom with doing one thing for an extended period of time.
You can encourage them by reminding them of the reason why they started in the first place and helping them to keep the end result of their effort in mind. This kind of focus on the outcome of the process makes the process worthwhile and helps to keep passion and energy alive.
When your child makes an effort to do something from start to finish, celebrate her success in completing the task irrespective of how well or how poorly she did it. It’s not so much about the result but more about the effort and process which builds their capacity to focus.
Where the task was done poorly you can give feedback on how to do better next time and where it was done well, encourage them to keep up the good work and be better next time. There is always room to be better, a leader never settles for yesterday’s best.