Sylvia Martignani writes: Planting conscientiousness in young people
To be conscientious means to be aware of others’ feelings and emotions. To be respectful and mindful or people’s reactions and motivations. Being conscientious means the quality of wishing to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly. This is closely tied in to work-ethic, resilience and many other critical factors that can determine a child’s success in the future or ultimate failure.
But how do we raise our children to be conscientious? Well, the trait is inherent in how we treat our own challenges and struggles and how we model that behaviour to our children. When we take on tasks, do we exhibit the skill of diligence or do we rush through it haphazardly to finish? Do we plan and carefully implement project outlines and content, or do we fly by the seats of our pants and improvise?
Ask yourself, which approach do you take towards completing tasks around the home and in front of your children? Do you have a goal in mind that you set to achieve, or do you meander around the house and kick things about or pile items in the corner? All this will demonstrate to your children how to develop conscientiousness.
Truth is, conscientious people are successful because they are neat, systematic, highly reliable and thorough. They read everything carefully before signing and they are deliberate in their words, thoughts and actions. This may seem like a strict type of personality, but it is a characteristic that can be developed very young.
The big trend now is Marie Kondo who wrote a book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. In the book she states ““People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.” This is very true. However, for something to become habit, which is an action or thought without premeditation, there has to be a conscientious, deliberate effort to do something, repetitively in order to acquire it as a “habit”. As such, if your children do not see you completing tasks with diligence or planning to implement family projects or simply and systematically tidying up- then it will never become a natural part of their skill set.
Believe me, I know the challenge of expressing certain behaviours in a busy household of three children. However, they still see me completing my tasks (however slowly). They partake in the meticulous cleaning of their playroom where every basket has a purpose. They see their daddy working hard to wash the laundry and mommy folds. They see us constantly cleaning. They witness their father train for Karate as he plans to achieve his black belt. They see mommy working in her daycare and demonstrating a conscientious effort to ensure the safety and happiness of the children and teachers.
They witness our deliberate and meticulous planning for family vacations.
I bet you that you already do all this. I know you do. You just don’t TELL THEM about it! You forget to announce what you do as second nature. This is a learning moment. This is a chance to teach them how to be conscientious. Every time you complete a task, ask them to thank you for it. Explain to them what would happen if you did not complete that task. Where would they be? Describe the need to fulfill your duties and obligations. Elaborate on the importance of being an active and effective member of society. Everything starts at home. It is a microcosm of their future reality. Raise conscientious children, the future will thank you for it. God bless.