She asked her son, "Did you do your best?"

He said, "Yes!"

She replied, "Then I'm proud of you."

And so began a pattern of copping out that would last his whole life.

What if children had parents who instead of asking, "Did you do your best?" asked, "Did you do whatever it takes?" Wouldn't that be a game changer?

It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I began reading books about financial freedom, going to weekend courses and listening to motivational speakers. They changed my thinking, my actions and the entire direction of my life. I wasn't alone in the crowd wondering, "Where was all this information my whole life?"

That is why - instead of letting my kids off the hook with an "as long as you do your best" cop-out, I want to get them thinking about doing "whatever it takes" early on in life! Instead of "if something is worth doing it's worth doing well" how about - "if I'm going to do something I'm going to do it at 100%."

We are in a day and age where kids are taught not to keep score so no one wins or loses. Heaven forbid a child should know the sting of loss. Children no longer repeat a grade because they "failed." That would harm their self-esteem. But when considering how to motivate kids - I believe we miss the mark by a long shot with this thinking.

How about instead of sheltering our children from the pain of losing we let each loss be a learning experience? While they're still in our care we can coach them in the life skill that losing doesn't have to be devastating. It's not something to be feared. We learn more when we fail at something than we do when we succeed the first try. Each risk isn't a win or lose situation. It's a win or LEARN situation. Kids today are being robbed of this opportunity! In protecting their self-esteem from knowing loss or failure we are also depriving them of any wins or great lessons learned to feel good about. And what if they hate losing so much that they push themselves to do whatever it takes to succeed the next time? So much the better.

As a parent I want so much more for my kids. I want them to know motivation and goal setting and planning for freedom at a younger age than I did. Dream out loud with your kids and dream huge! Ask them how they want to spend their time as adults. What does their future home look like? What are they driving? Who are their friends?

T. Harv Eker puts it so well when he says, "If you are willing to do only what's easy, life will be hard. But if you're willing to do what's hard, life will be easy." So teach them that they need to start forming good habits that lead to success now - habits of setting goals, finishing what they start, exercising integrity, and doing whatever it takes! And for goodness sake - let them lose sometimes! Better now while in the care of a loving parent than for it to hit them between the eyes later on in life with no life skills having been developed to cope with it.

Author's Bio: 

Susan L. Paterson invites you to visit her website While you're there sign up for a free "simple parent strategy" to be e-mailed weekly to help simplify parenting. For more on "how to motivate kids" download her new eBook "How to Motivate Kids - No Nagging Required!"