OMATAS Blog

The Pygmalion Effect and Unrealised Expectations

I believe that what you think becomes your reality. I also believe that children are taught what to think about themselves by us, and we are not that good at it ourselves. What if we saw self esteem as our number one priority? What if we taught our children that anything was possible if we just believed? What if we learnt that lesson for ourselves?

I recently watched Jim Carey on a Graham Norton show talking about being a ‘manifestor’ and hearing his example of writing a cheque out to himself only to be earning that amount of money before the date arrived that was written on that fake cheque. I really do believe that what we think about drives us to the actions that make what we think about become a reality. What if we did this for our children? Who would care that they weren’t there yet if we could lay the path to getting there.

If the truth were to be told I would have to say that My Fair Lady is one of my all time favourite plays and movies. I just love the before and after, any dramatic change from drab to fab, from dusty to sparkling (remembering the old Mr Min advert), from not good enough to completely accepted. For me it is not about fitting in or living up, but rather it is about how with a lot of effort and believing, that we can completely change ourselves.

In the context of education I am wary, not because I don’t think it can happen, because it most certainly can happen, but because I feel a sense that reality is the measure and it somehow outweighs the beauty of the possibilities and potential we need to believe in. There are so many studies showing that how we treat our children, what we expect of them and how we teach them to think about themselves impacts directly on their academic (and life) success. So why the  heavy weight of reality? Do parents want the truth rather than the possibilities, do they need it, do they need both?

Perhaps we are cautious of the untold stories, the failed attempts, the ones that don’t make it into books or onto the movies screens. We hear tales of years of therapy that have made no difference or teachers that have failed to pick up problems early enough. We hear of therapists and schools holding onto kids for commercial reasons. We hear of lost causes.

In the face of skepticism and guarding against the possible inability to develop a child as much as was expected or wished for, we forge forward. Using everything we have to create a place where believing is powerful. We look for success, we hunt for feelings of competence, we begin where they are and we will them forward. If we treat them as if they are worthwhile, they will become worthwhile. If we treat them as if they are achievers, they will become achievers.

Author: Lauren Edmunds – Copyright

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