“Remember, Jennifer, attitude affects outcome.”
I don’t know how many times I heard my dad say that to me when I was growing up, but it was obviously enough times that I find myself saying it to my own children now! It was one of those many “parent sayings” that I didn’t fully understand or really want to hear as a child or teenager. Now, like so many things, it’s one that I definitely understand and appreciate. What my dad was trying to teach me is that our attitude directly impacts the outcome of everything we’re trying to accomplish—from sports to music to chores to schoolwork.
Positive Versus Negative Attitude
As a homeschool mom for the past five years, I have witnessed the truth of my dad’s statement during school. Whenever my children are excited about or good at a particular subject, they have a good attitude. They sit up, pay close attention, carefully follow instructions, and do their best. I’ll even notice them smiling as they do it. And the result is always positive whether a high grade on a test, a neat worksheet, or a thorough project.
But if it’s a subject they don’t like or understand very well, their attitude takes a nosedive. A sigh, a groan, slumped shoulders, or an audible “Not this again” is a pretty good indicator of how their lesson is going to turn out. They slouch, daydream, and make only a half-hearted attempt to follow instructions in their workbooks. Sometimes they’ll rush in order to get it over with. And the result is usually sloppy handwriting, inaccurate answers, and incomplete assignments. I’ll even see tears of frustration as they struggle through their work. Then they end up having to redo it, which makes their attitude even worse, and then I find myself starting to have a bad attitude—not an ideal atmosphere for homeschooling!
Encouraging Right Attitudes
The bottom line is that a wrong attitude reveals wrong thinking. My child thinks something like this: I really don’t like math, it’s hard, I don’t understand it, it’s boring, and I don’t want to do it. That then translates into the disposition I described earlier. My job as a teacher and parent is to help my children realize that even if they don’t like a subject, they can still choose to have a good attitude about it with God’s help. A good verse to memorize is Romans 12:11,“Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Another one is Colossians 3:23, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”
I have seen God work in my children’s hearts and help them change their outlook, dramatically improving their schoolwork. Helping our kids develop Christ-honoring attitudes now in school will prepare them to handle even greater challenges in the future.
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Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves being able to homeschool them. During her own twelve years of homeschooling, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.