Have you ever played the game “Would You Rather”? You know, it’s the game where you ask or get asked questions like would you rather eat frog legs or snails?
Well…I stumbled upon a national survey that asked one of these questions, and the results were very interesting.
The survey asked a sample of men the following question:
Would you rather feel alone and unloved in the world OR feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone?
What do you think the results were?
Men chose one of these over the other by a margin of 74% to 26%. Can you guess which one most men would rather feel?
According to this survey, the overwhelming response for most men is that they would rather feel alone and unloved over inadequate and disrespected.
Wow! The vast majority of men do not want to feel inadequate or disrespected…even choosing feeling UNLOVED instead.
So what does this have to do with you?
For one, it gives you some great insight into how men think. If you have a husband or a son, this information can be extremely valuable.
I also believe this is a huge factor for why a ranch can be such a special and therapeutic place for all teenagers-especially young men. On a ranch, teenagers learn to work hard, do things they have never done before, and be proud of their accomplishments. A ranch requires kids to get out of their comfort zone and try new things. On a ranch you live the law of the harvest- you reap what you sow.
All these things build up a teen to help them feel entirely adequate and respected. And it’s those feelings that contribute to helping them make positive changes in their lives.
Once they know they can do something as long as they put in the work, then the confidence and self-esteem start to skyrocket. This happens with every student at KW Legacy Ranch, and it’s such a joy to see.
But what if you don’t live on a ranch? How can you help your teens feel adequate and respected?
Here are three tips to help your teenager feel more adequate and respected:
One thing you can do is to help them experience and learn new things.
This can include anything from sports, cooking, mechanics, carpentry, sewing, cleaning, building things, working with animals, etc. The more things your son knows how to do or has at least had a chance to experience, the more adequate he will feel.
Another thing to do is to help them learn how to fail.
This may seem counter intuitive, but just keep reading. If your kids learn how to fail at little things in life when they are younger and when the consequences aren’t as big, then they won’t be as worried about trying new things and failing when they are older. Learning how to fail and getting back up afterward is a key characteristic of successful people. Those who are too afraid to fail will live a pretty simple life never brave enough to expand their horizons.
The third thing you can do to help your kids is to recognize your tendency as a parent to overprotect and to prevent yourself from always rescuing your child.
This is related to allowing them to fail. When your son gets a bad grade in a class, you can go talk to the teacher for him and find out why and then blame the school system because they don’t know how to teach a child like yours. Or you can help your son learn to study better and to take responsibility for his own grades.
If your child is on a sports team and doesn’t play very much, you can talk to the coaches and complain about why he’s not getting more playing time or you can practice more with your son and have discussions with him about the importance of being a good teammate and fulfilling his role-whatever that may be.
Let me give you an example that has happened here on the ranch. Part of the curriculum our students go through is to learn how to rope. You know…how cowboys rope. Now if you’ve never roped before, it can be a pretty difficult skill to master. And of course some students will pick it up much quicker than others.
Well, we’ve had some parents who will see their kid really struggling to learn this new skill and who will come to us and ask if we can change it or make it a little easier for their child. In essence they want us to lower the standards or make allowances for their son or daughter.
This usually demonstrates a pattern of rescuing that has probably gone on for quite some time. But what is it teaching their child?
When you rescue your child from difficult situations, this is the message they receive:
“Mom or dad have to help me with this because I am inadequate or incapable of doing it myself.”
It’s teaching him that he is not capable of doing hard things. It’s teaching him that he is inadequate. And remember that he would rather feel alone and unloved than inadequate!
Guess what happens to the students here on the ranch? Every one of them learns how to rope. We have never had to make a special allowance for any of them.
So follow these suggestions and your son will feel like an adequate young man. An adequate young men turned into a responsible and successful man.