The following powerful poem by Khalil Gibran (1922) speaks to the notion of allowing our children to own their own dreams. We must guide and support them, while at the same time allowing them to discover their own ambitions, identity and purpose and to chart their own life paths.
“Encourage the deed [or effort], not the doer.” — Rudolf Dreikurs, psychiatrist/educator, (1897-1972)
Research by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. a professor at Columbia University (now at Stanford), reinforced the notion that too much praise is, in fact, not always good for children. For over ten years, psychologist Carol Dweck and her team studied the effect of praise on students in a dozen New York schools. Her seminal work — a series of experiments on 400 fifth-graders — found that children praised for being smart or talented when they accomplished various tasks tended to choose easier tasks in the future.