Dr. Rich Patterson

About Those Critical Voices . . .

Recently I was traveling and met a friend who was with his granddaughter.  I asked her what her plans were for after high school, to which she replied with a detailed plan including some “Plan B” type options.  I was impressed with her conviction and passion for her dream.  Her grandfather then spoke up and said, “Yes, but she doesn’t have any money, so it probably won’t happen.”  I was shocked that someone would squash another’s dream like that.

I quickly jumped in and said that I didn’t have any money either when I went to college and that I worked and performed with bands to make ends meet each year, graduating on time.  The young woman looked up at me optimistically.

Those critical voices come to the fore within us so very quickly.  It often seems like the human default, that if we don’t catch ourselves, those negative and critical comments come out.  We must guard our words, particularly for our youth of today.  They look to us for guidance, support and if something negative comes out, they may think, ‘well, maybe I’m off base here, maybe I can’t accomplish that.’  On a trip to the Canadian Wilderness, I witnessed a crow badgering several Bald Eagles in the area.

Even though the Eagle is much stronger than the Crow, he never retaliated even one time.  When the Eagle needed a break, he would fly higher because Eagles can fly up to 10,000 even 15,000 feet at 65 miles an hour, far higher and faster than a crow.  There are very few other birds that can fly at that altitude.

I like the concept of someone much more substantial, like the Eagle, who could crush the Crow without even trying, taking the higher ground.  It is a metaphor for us as well.  With our wisdom, thoughts, experiences, and life lessons, we can quickly tell our youth, “that won’t work, I tried that . . ., you can’t do that” and more.  Instead, be wary of criticism and advice that you offer them.  Keep their dreams alive and help them by saying something positive.

Please encourage them to work hard, make sacrifices to get there, and network with others for support.

To our youth, I say:  It’s those critical voices that can push someone to not believe in themselves.  Instead, be strong, don’t worry about pleasing the critics, run your race, be yourself, and follow your heart.  You won’t always get it right, and that is OK; keep pushing forward, adjusting, learning, and making solid progress toward your dreams.

Closely related to this topic is How to Be A Positive Parent, read here, How to Be A Positive Parent – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com)

Psychology Today has an effective article on Shutting Down Those Critical Voices, here, Critical Voices: Shutting Them Down | Psychology Today

I would be interested in your thoughts on this and what experiences you’ve had.  Please leave me a message below.

Yours for Better Parenting,