Parenting: Will you still love me if I don't win? (cont.)
Moderator: What steps can parents, whose own experiences growing up were unstable or uncommunicative, take to break the cycle and communicate effectively with their own children?
Andersonn: That's a very good question, and also from a parent who asks them, shows their own level of awareness and concern. One of the things that'll work, is that they need to explore their own feelings. And I go into this in the book. They need to open themselves up, and need to learn to communicate with themselves about their own feelings. And need to develop a sense of vulnerability, so they can be more vulnerable with their children and others in their family. They need to look at their own relationships with their parents, which may have to do with hurt, anger... things not dealt with very well. And things not necessarily those issues... they're going to have to love their children enough to be willing to change. To use that as a motivation, and even saying that it might be uncomfortable for them to talk because of the way they were raised. And begin talking on a level of emotion, and not just "what did you do today?" And the only way a parent can do that is to become more comfortable -- maybe even journaling. And it is common for a lot of people -- they need to open up with each other to talk. And talk about how they feel, and practice talking... particularly about their emotions. And extend that into the family, step by step by step. And if they want to get help, then absolutely. Any way a person feels is right to them, which calls to them, then that's right. I came from a family that was uncommunicative. And I learned, because I knew that if I didn't, I was folding up and afraid inside. And that's all right -- but people can change. There are two major motivations that I express in the book for change, and one is impact -- what is my impact on my children, and for love. Ultimately, it goes to love. Do you love them enough to look at yourself? Even though that might be scary?
Billy_de_WebMD: Do you think that participating in team sports is essential training for participating in society? How do you help your child find the balance between the team's interest and their self-interest?"
Andersonn: I do not think it's absolutely necessary to fit into society, because if it's not in athletics, they'll have to deal with society. Team sports can help them. If you take a look at professional athletes, do it look like they -- a lot of those guys are in big trouble. But can a team sport help? Yes. In swimming, you've got boys and girls together, and that's wonderful because they can be friends together. And soccer -- they can have a girl or boy as a friend, and learn that, and they don't get that in an individual sport. But it doesn't guarantee that it'll make them fit into society. What I look for, is some people are more naturally drawn to a team sport... and let that be okay. Let the teenager or child find their own way -- there are reasons they're drawn to what they are, and there might be things you have to call upon, that are valuable in an individual over a team sport. Is one better than the other? That goes down to the individual, and letting them find what's right for them. If we look at the balance of it, and if it's a healthy program, and not too much pressure, they'll learn what they need to learn whether it's team or individual sport. There's a wonderful feeling of self worth that comes from the team. Giving, graciously giving is giving for the sake of giving, without reward or wanting something back. The act of giving is the reward itself. You don't get that in an individual sport. I like team sports, but individual sports are fun, too -- team sports can be much more fun, because you have more people to be with. I want my kids to experience team sports, because there's benefit... but I don't want to say that if you *don't* do team sports... One of the things to realize is that as you're a team player, there's a synergy and groupness, and camaraderie that you get by contributing to the team, that's bigger than as an individual, and that'll give you value and self-worth. Value has to do with the impact you have on other people. Worth has to do with loving yourself for the person you are. And self-esteem has to do with recognizing your own needs. They are 3 different things.
blaine1_WebMD: Is placing no influence on a child to participate in sports a negative?
Andersonn: You can't do that. By placing no influence, you're already an influence. Maybe they want you to talk to them about it, and it's okay to influence them, and say that "I'd really like you to try this." Maybe a lot of kids might be reluctant to try it, because they're afraid of something, but once they get involved, they love it. And if it hadn't been for the parent's influence, they wouldn't have known it. But it needs to be done with love and tenderness, and sometimes you don't want to force a kid to do something, but sometimes you need to draw the line and tell them they need to do it. That might help the kid take that step forward... and once they take that step, they're sometimes off and running. But sometimes the timing is wrong, and that becomes a situation where you need to see what's going on with your child and sense what's right and wrong. There's no pat answer... it's okay to influence, but it depends on how it's done, so it's not done in a dominating way. On my website, which I invite everyone to visit -- www.christopherandersonn.com -- I absolutely have done hundreds of parent seminars, and invite that cooperation. There's a lot of talk in the Simi Valley part of the area, and I look forward to doing something there.
Moderator: What role does imagination play in the development of a child?
Andersonn: It's one of the greatest assets. They have to have their dreams, and how do dreams come -- from the imagination. If you can't imagine it, then you can't ever do it. Just because you can imagine it, doesn't mean it'll happen... If we don't imagine, how little will we see in the life? By imagining, we have all the futures at our fingertips. Ultimately for us, we might not know what imagination is best for us, but that imagination might lead us down a path that can touch off other imaginations that can take us in different directions. The key is to encourage imaginations. In our school system, we're institutionalized in our thinking. Imagination and creativity get killed off. The system of education institutionalizes thinking, and that's so damaging to creativity. I developed a tape -- The Emerald Lagoon... and it's an 18 minute visualization. It's relaxation, but it's a way of programming your future self, and I do this because I want to help them sharpen their imagination. I know what works for people, and I offer this because imagination is so important. It's the key to dreaming, and a key to giving hope. It's key in a person's life, and it has to do with the energy of a person, which includes feeling, imagination and the ability to perceive and conceive. Our society is very male oriented, and we use logic so much. Imagining is a wonderful side of it, that gives us such life. I think it's very important. And you can get that tape at my website.