According to an article in The New York Times,

“Research suggests that when parents praise effort rather than ability, children develop a stronger work ethic and become more motivated.”

Let’s broaden the scope a little. John and I encourage parents to applaud the process, which includes the effort, as well as the product. The level of ability is not a primary factor here and may or may not increase as the “process” is highlighted.

Here’s a simple example. When I taught elementary school one of the subjects was spelling.  The students wrote their words 5 times each at the beginning of the week and ultimately had a trial and final spelling test.  I dedicated a bulletin board for display of the A+ papers – the tests with no mistakes. If I was still teaching TODAY, I would have a bulletin board displaying the practice papers of students who had given extra effort and written the words more times than I required.

Writing those words may or may not have led to an A+ paper, but I would applaud the extra effort.  It might pay off by making the student a better speller.  More importantly applauding the process might pay off in life.

Don’t ignore the Product as you applaud the Process. It’s important to applaud BOTH the process and the product. Applauding only the process can give the illusion that the product is unimportant. The Product is, in a sense, one-dimensional. A good grade on a spelling test indicates the mastery of those words. The Process can transfer to a multitude of situations.  Effort that is applauded has the potential to positively influence diligence, determination, & commitment in other areas.

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