Posted by Yitz Grossman.
Once there was a boy of fifteen in a yeshivah, who was a failure in his learning. He was unable to learn gemara and also disturbed the class at every opportunity. The rabbis were at a loss as to what to do with the boy.
The father asked the mashgi’ach if there was anything at all positive in his son. The mashgi’ach answered that his davening was fine, but that was about the only thing he did well.
“Do me a favor,” said the father. “Instead of criticizing him on his poor behavior and learning, ignore it and start praising him on his davening.”
The mashgi’ach followed the father’s advice, and the result was that the boy appreciated the praise so much that he made efforts in other areas as well, until eventually he became one of the best students in the yeshivah.
We can learn a great deal from this. We must look positively at our children in order for them to succeed. When we think of them negatively, they begin to see themselves in a negative light, too, and fall into despair. When we praise them, they wish to live up to our praise, and so they make positive efforts, which are bound to succeed.