Moderation is Key

According to Wikipedia, moderation is the process of eliminating or lessening extremes. It is used to ensure normality throughout the medium on which it is being conducted.

Moderation is considered a key part of one’s personal development in Taoist philosophy and religion and is one of the three jewels of Taoist thought. There is nothing that cannot be moderated including one’s actions, ones desires and even thoughts. It is believed that by doing so one achieves a more natural state, faces less resistance in life and recognizes one’s limits. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moderation).

I say that moderation is key to everything, including, how we should regulate behavior both at home and in school. Reinforcements, as what has already been established by numerous studies on behaviorism, can draw out positive responses when used effectively. Although, despite of the good intentions one may have in using reinforcements to achieve normality in one’s behavior, some may see it only as an opportunity for them to demand more for something that they should be doing well in the first place like getting good grades for example. It is encouraging, of course, to receive praises for doing good in school, but one must be reminded that more than the praises, good education is the actual real prize. So, in giving positive reinforcements, I believe that it should be done sparingly.

Let me cite a personal example. My daughter, who just turned 10 years old this month, have been told of the value of education early on. She makes it a point to do well in all her classes because that kind of behavior had been established when she was a little bit younger and so, having to ask her to do school stuff is never a problem. But there was this one time that I picked her up from school and asked if she had any assignments and her answer to me was, I’m done because I had worked on them in school during our. “supervised study time”. You can imagine that I was positively surprised and I felt very proud at the moment that I blurted out, ” GREAT JOB, Blythe! Really, that was really great! I mean, it was one thing that she does her assignments everyday, but to actually make use of her spare time to do it on her own while her classmates were busy playing was beyond what I would have expected from a 9 year old girl and that to me was worthy of a praise.

Interestingly enough, I find that the same concept of moderation can be applied to “punishments” when dealing with children. I have heard of the word “overkill” and sometimes, that is exactly what most of us do when we try to discipline our children. We sometimes have the habit of making them feel worse than they already are with a simple mistake that could have turned out to be a learning experience nonetheless. In turn, what the child remembers most of the situation was how bad of a person he/she was because that is exactly how he/she was made to feel. We do not take the time to dig deeper, analyze, understand and apply a more appropriate response or reaction to what has been said or done wrong. Instead, we just jump right to it and give the maximum penalty thinking that” it” will teach the child the lesson he/she will never forget because it is the “extreme” penalty. But is that really the case? I say, not at all. Some, just gets immune overtime with the penalties that they no longer care and therefore no longer learn. In these cases, sadly, we miss the mark by a very long shot because instead of correcting the wrong behavior, we have led our children to endure the intensity of the punishments with the mindset that they will overcome it. Question is, for how long?

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