Listening to the coach, I was reminded how positive and negative words can have such and impact on children. More importantly, I was reminded about the fact that the positives have to outweigh the negatives. I constantly heard what the boys were doing wrong, where they needed to improve. I rarely heard the positive pointed out.
It seems that in all parts of life it's easy to focus on the negative with kids, and then when they are doing the right thing, we're so thankful that we don't say anything at all.
That's the mistake.
We need to acknowledge the right thing. We need to focus on the positive. All kids want attention. All kids are going to seek attention whether they consciously do it or not. We need to let them know we see them. We need to let them know we notice them doing the right thing.
In the classroom and at home, it may seem exhausting at first to always be pointing out the positive, but it pays off. It pays off for us as educators and parents, but more importantly it pays off for the kids. They feel noticed, valued, and they see that their efforts to do the right thing is appreciated.