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Exercising Values

Happy, Healthy, Kind, & Considerate Kids

3 Keys to Parenting Children toward Excellence

character children goals habits inspiration parenting values Sep 03, 2012

Fritz Kreisler was a master violinist who learned that an Englishman owned a Stradivarius violin. He sought out the man and offered to buy it only to be told it was not for sale. Kreisler asked if he might at least touch it and the owner allowed it. Kreisler tucked the instrument under his chin and began to play so beautifully that the owner didn't sell it to him, he gave it to him.

Today is Labor Day in the States. As we honor everyone who labors today, lets purpose to teach our children to strive for excellence in whatever they do. Mediocrity is boring. Every few years the world stops to watch the Olympics as the best of the best contend against each other. Sponsors will pay millions of dollars for a thirty second ad during the Superbowl because again it is the best teams that are playing. If you needed brain surgery tomorrow, I'm sure you'd prefer a master at his craft.

There are many ways to instill excellence in children and demanding it is not one of them. We need to inspire our children. Here are three keys to doing that:

1. Expose them to the best. Show them what great art looks like, what great music sounds like and what great literature teaches. Read to them, take them to art galleries and expose them to orchestras, concerts, and great singers. Apply this philosophy to whatever interests your child has. If they want to be a runner, watch that part of the Olympics together.

2. Strive for excellence in whatever you do. don't cut corners or complain about your life's work. I always told my children that they were my magnum opus: the best work of my life. Whatever imperfections I have had as a parent, I wanted them to know that I loved the job and was endeavoring to do my best at it. Now that I'm also coaching, doing personal training and teaching and working with college students; I want to bring that same passion and drive to my work. Doing it half-heartedly just wouldn't be any fun.

3. Encourage your children to do their best by praising improvement, hard work and character. Praise them for persistence, determination, creativity and diligence. Notice when they improve and give them the tools to get better at what they choose to do.

Remember while you are inspiring your children to excellent character to also choose excellence in taking care of their body. Reject fake foods full of many syllable ingredients that you instinctively know are not real naturally occurring food. I just accidentally typed the word ingredient as in greed ient and that's actually pretty accurate. Greed has caused health to be less valued than profit and it is your job as the parent to protect your children from food like substances that cause disease, obesity, premature aging and depression. While considering excellence today, try to make excellent food choices. It is in these daily chores that our labors of love will make the most difference.

I wish you a happy and healthy Labor Day and a life time of pursuing excellence.

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About the Author

Pamela Davenport


For decades I have helped countless parents and their children overcome significant obstacles. My unique accomplishments in the fields of child development, health, and fitness have given me an unparalleled perspective and expertise that I would love to share with you.

  • Award-Winning Author and Parenting Coach
  • Mother of six and grandmother of five
  • Studied Juvenile Justice at Stanford University
  • Master’s degree in Social Work
  • Experienced family counselor
  • Support group leader for struggling parents
  • Taught health at the university level
  • Program manager for the personal training programs at two colleges
  • Personal Trainer helping people lose 5lb-100lb+
  • Two-time Ironman Triathlete and competing member of team USA
  •  UMB Lifetime Sportswoman Award 2017