Tattooed with negative thinking?

Once our minds are ‘tattooed’ with negative thinking, our chances for long-term success diminish. ~John Maxwell

February 2010.

When I first thought of keeping this blog about expectations for life and work, I really was thinking that so many people have no expectations – or they don’t know how to articulate them. I actually forgot that many people have negative expectations, and they live their lives that way, and don’t even realize it. This is a huge issue and I think it is only in my own optimistic denial that I didn’t think of it as an issue at all.

It came to my attention in a big way this past week when I was in a classroom with preschool children. The students were of varying ages and some had emotional or physical diagnosis outside of the typical preschooler. The staff in the classroom had been working with these kids since September, and clearly they were tired of some of the repetitive behaviors of some of the children. Let me make it clear that they did have the student’s best interest in mind. I just think that they let their own emotions get in the way of the correct way of dealing with some of the kids.

They also may have needed additional training, for that matter. Maybe a reminder course with interactive lessons to get them to respond to the issues in fresh new ways.

We all need to remember that at one point or another this is something we need to face – shaking up our own routines benefits not only the students and those around us but gives us renewed energy.

But I digress!!

On this particular day, in the case of one student in particular, the assistant teachers never once responded to him positively. This could possibly mean that they had determined that positivism was not appropriate for him (for example, maybe he couldn’t learn that way because of his diagnosis). However, no one prepped me for that – so all I saw was negativity. Every action this child performed was pounced upon as if they were looking for bad behaviors. By the end of the class, this student was the only one who didn’t get to be a “Super Star” on his behavior paper that he took home for mom. How sad.

The expectations of these assistants were clearly low. They expected oppositional behavior and met it in such a way that they constantly chastising the child. The closest I saw to positivity was some modeling of good behavior during circle time, which was great since much of the rest of the circle time was spent scolding the child and forcing him to sit still when he clearly couldn’t.

Sometimes we get what we expect… So perhaps if we expect better things, we will get better things…

  • Stephen King faced 30 rejections until he finally had his first book published

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