Winning in real life

Teaching your child

Teaching your child

August 02, 2002|by LISA TEDRICK PREJEAN

"Mommy, I really want to win. Can I? Will you guys let me?"

I was reviewing my mental check list of things that needed to be done when my daughter's comment brought me back to the color memory game we were playing.

She was frustrated because her older brother always seems to have the upper hand, even in games of chance.

"If we let you win, you won't enjoy it as much as if you really won. But I can see that you're trying really hard. So, we'll continue playing until each of our game cards is full. We won't stop after the first person is done. That way, everyone will have a chance to fill their card."

Of course, her brother was finished first. But she was happy because her card was full at the end of the game.


My husband and I are pretty hard-nosed when it comes to playing by the rules and accepting the outcome graciously, even though we're both quite competitive.

And our kids are learning that we won't let them cheat, even in a game.

Children learn through play. We want them to transfer what they're learning on our playroom floor to other areas of their lives as they grow and mature.

We're concerned about what their future will be like if we don't take the time now to teach them how to live.

We want them to be responsible, fair and trustworthy in their careers, and we know they're not going to get that instruction from a textbook.

As parents, we need to lay the groundwork now so our children will become responsible professionals.

The root of corporate America's problems is the inability of those in powerful positions to play by the rules, set limits and patiently work toward a goal.

"Nobody teaches civics anymore - the role of the individual in society," says Joel D. Goldhar, professor of technology management at the Illinois Institute of Technology's Stuart Graduate School of Business. "You can't assume somebody else is going to do it for your kids."

When Goldhar first started teaching 30 years ago, at least half of his students had military experience. As a result, he says they had been taught the value of honesty, integrity and honor.

"Today, almost no one has had that experience" prior to attending business school, says Goldhar, the parent of two teenagers. "Nobody up to that time has spent much time on (civics)."

Business schools should integrate both ethics and the broader issue of professional responsibility into all of their courses, Goldhar says.

"Key concepts, like the professional responsibility of the manager and the social role/responsibility of the corporation to society, have been lost in most schools of business and management in the rush to the excitement and easy profits of financial engineering," Goldhar says.

Teachers can lecture about ethics and kids can read about it, but that kind of training really needs to come from the home, Goldhar says.

"If they're learning it from a book, they're probably too old for it to impact their character."

After reading last week's column on speech and language development, a co-worker e-mailed to say his son said "warm" for "room," "huck" for truck and "thirty" for thirsty until he was about school age.

"I looked for the T in your listing of speech acquisition ages and didn't find it. The listing is also missing Q, C and X, but those are phonetically composed of K, S and W sounds, so that was all right. But what about T?"

Carol Ann Day, speech-language pathologist for Washington County Public Schools, provided this answer:

"I would put T in the listing for 4-year-old mastery. Q is composed phonetically of kw. For example, the word queen, phonetically, would be "kween." Similarly, the work quick would be "kwick." So, we tackle Q words in drill when we work on remediating K.

"C takes on the form of either K as in the words car, cat, cow. At other times, it becomes an S as cent, century. X is often a Z sound, for instance Xerox or xylophone. In the word x-ray, the initial X makes the ks sound as it does at the end of the word Xerox.

"I have found that when a child begins to receive speech therapy for very difficult-to-understand speech, the first sound that you choose to correct is always the hardest. However, after the first error is remediated, many other errored sounds begin to self-correct. There is a lot to be said for teaching the child to monitor his speech and hear errors in his words. It is a fascinating process!"

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at

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