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There is no such thing as "Tough Love"

Tough Love. What exactly does tough love mean and whose definition is the definitive answer? To be direct, I don't believe in tough love. Scolding a human being when they make a creative mistake and blaming it on this notion of tough love is beyond absurd in my opinion. You'll hear "because I want you to be great" or "Im hard on you because I love you". Sure, there is some value in allowing those we love to fall flat on their faces. Even our heavenly father allows us to go through trials and tribulation to build us up and to learn many valuable lessons. But the idea of being rash, unforgiving, aggressive, and completely angry when a student or loved one doesn't perform at your standard is not, I repeat NOT, because you love and believe in them. It is deeply rooted in what you have and have not accomplished yourself and therefore you project your insecurities on to that individual to be successful in an area that they may truly feel inadequate. Do you believe your friends, children, or loved ones would come to you to be honest? I doubt that they would considering you have created this image and standard that they feel your love is conditional to their performance in life when it shouldn't be.

Let's take a different approach. Have you ever done or attempted something that you learned you just weren't good at? If not, you've never taken a chance on anything. If so, how did you feel after learning you aren't good at it? Probably manifested feelings of embarrassment, self-doubt and so on. Wouldn't have been great to receive REAL encouragement from those who support you? Being scolded and yelled at is not encouragement, its verbal abuse. The way you show your support for someone should be unwavering, meaning you're present and by their side whether they get it right or wrong. Setting extreme expectations only pushes the person further away when they don't feel as though they meet your standard of success or completion.

Dear Students,

If you've ever felt you weren't worthy of a position, place, or reward know that you received it all because you are worthy. I know there are times where you step out on faith to try something new... maybe a hobby, a new major, a sport, an instrument... I say to you don't be discouraged if you find out its not for you. Half the adults I know today have never stepped out on faith and as a result continue to stay right where they are. If you have parents that yell at you for trying... this should be discussed. There are more efficient ways to learn than to be scolded. Maybe they don't know any better or never had an example. Nevertheless, I encourage you to speak up about positive reinforcement for your life. I've seen how it may effect a student as they go into college years where they are no longer with their parents but are able to replay the messages embedded in their minds. By no means is parenting easy and of course there are times where you deserve to get what's coming. However, when you are trying to be creative and grow as a young individual this shouldn't be a time for scolding but encouragement. Additionally, find ways to empower yourself and those around you. Ask yourself how many times you cheered on a friend, teammate or classmate. Use every opportunity to build each other up because the world around you already does a fantastic job of trying to tear you down. Most importantly... keep going, keep learning, and keep growing.

- Dean Felder

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