That is truly a debatable question… but I believe they do. For most children their thoughts about something are influenced by their success or failure or even by their parent’s opinions. Children will often think they can’t succeed in something simply because their parents didn’t. Recently, I have been working with my son – trying to get him interested in reading for pleasure. He reads… when he has to. I asked him why he didn’t want to pick a favorite book and get comfy on the couch and read. He just flat out responded with a “I hate reading.” Wow… that broke this homeschool mom’s heart… so I asked him why. What he told me next really made me think.
“Daddy doesn’t like to read because everytime he opens his book he falls asleep, and reading is for girls.” Oh… my… goodness… I was shocked. I had no idea that he had been feeling this way. Yet, this proved that what he “thought” about reading affected his desire to read. He saw my husband (really tired from working all day) fall asleep reading, and saw his sisters with their noses in books all day and assumed that reading was not for him. We are currently working on changing this perception… but I do remember tutoring a little girl who hated math. I asked her why she felt this way, and she told me that her mother did not like math and never did well in it, so she didn’t like it either. After I worked with her for a while, she started enjoying much success in math. The success brought her confidence and eventually she began to really enjoy math. Her thoughts about math changed from hating it – to liking it.
So do our perceptions or thoughts about something affect how we achieve? What do you think??