November 4 2015
Principal’s Message Nov 4, 15
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
This month’s copy of the Harvard Business Review provides a list of the world’s top 100 CEO’s. Top-ping the list is the CEO of Novo Nordisk, Lars Sørensen. Sørensen’s company makes drugs that treat diabetes and he surprisingly credits a lot of the company’s success to luck—increasingly poor diets and a lack of exercise lead to more people getting diabetes, which in turn meant that there was a greater demand for the products his company was selling.
80% of Noro Nordisk’s profits come from selling products that treat diabetes. Because of this people often ask if he is worried that diabetes will some day be cured and no one will need his products any more. In fact Noro Nordisk themselves are working on a cure for diabetes and Sørensen tells his employees “If we wind up curing diabetes, and it destroys a big part of our business, we can be proud, and you can get a job anywhere. We’ll have worked on the greatest social service of any pharmaceutical company, and that would be a phenomenal thing.” It is interesting that Sørensen, who is known for being the greatest business person in the world, is happy if suddenly his business is not needed.
A few years back I remember reading a news article about some families in Hong Kong who had sent their children away to live on campus at university. These families were upset at the university be-cause it had banned them from allowing the family’s domestic helpers to go into the dorm rooms to clean up after their child and do their laundry. To me cleaning up after yourself and doing laundry is a skill that students should have mastered by the time they leave primary school as it is part of a child learning to be independent, and by university it should be a well formed habit.
Psychologist Jean Williams warns parents that “Habitually doing things for your child that she’s capa-ble of doing herself sends an inadvertent message that you don’t have confidence in her abilities,”. The outcome is a child who lacks independence, self-esteem and problem-solving skills and who can’t—or won’t—do age-appropriate tasks. This is sometimes called “learned helplessness.” I believe we do our children a huge disservice if we stop them from learning the skills that they need to be able to look after themselves and its something we need to be mindful of if we want our children to grow well.
If you feel that you may have been doing too much for you child and have not let them develop the independence they need, then below is a summary of some tips from Today’s Parent that I hope you will find useful:
Give Notice—Get your child on board by encouraging her to help “you” change. When Williams real-ized she was doing way more for her son than was necessary, she told him, “I’m sorry. I’ve been treat-ing you like a little kid when you are ready to do some big-kid jobs!” She warns against using phrases like “You’re not a baby anymore”; baby can be a sensitive word in this age group.