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Being and doing: the education of our children

Educators, they being parents or teachers, sometimes show more appreciation for children for what they do than for who they are.

They praise them when they get excellent grades from college and reproach them when they are low. However, we must value people by their human dignity, regardless of their academic or professional achievements.

A father wants his son with virtues and with defects because he is his son, his dear child.

It has been said many times that the family is the place where its members are loved more for who they are — children, parents, grandparents — than for what they do.

Personal confidence starts primarily when a person feels accepted within the family environment.

For this reason, when we have to encourage or praise a pupil, it is preferable to emphasise the effort achieved (related to being) than praise them for the result obtained (related to doing).

It is important that the child feels better for having improved as a person than for having fulfilled a requirement driven by adults.

In general, we should not reward the child for having complied with their duty or for having achieved a success in any activity, but we must praise at all times and show happiness.

A gift for good school grades is deforming because:

• The child learns to behave and does homework not because it is good, but for the reward they receive, as if it was a pay. In addition, this stimulates selfishness because the child seeks a gift and does not consider the good his work can bring about for others in the future.

This procedure of paying for school grades with money or gifts is more oriented to train and domesticate children than it is to educate them and make them grow as people

• The child was disappointed when these awards are missing or are considered insufficient. In other words, the child will feel punished every time they do not receive the wanted rewards. The consequence for the child is that it is not worth to study or effort

It is preferable to praise and encourage the effort made by the child more than it is the results.

If pupils do not receive the attention of educators when they behave well, they will look for it behaving badly.

Arturo Ramo, a retired education inspector, is the Co-ordinator of the Independent Forum for Opinion