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Praising Your Child Can Make A Difference

Formerly titled "When Should An Artist NOT Sign His Work".

I was faced with this question some years ago.

Allow me to back up for just a minute. Years ago, I bought one of Zig Ziglar's books on how to raise positive kids. I first bought this book because, like many fathers, I wanted to know how to raise and discipline my son when the time came. Little did I know that this book didn't deal so much with the actions of the son, but more with the actions of the parents! It wasn't long before I started exercising certain techniques in that book, and noticed they were actually molding my son right before my eyes.

My son was not into drugs, didn't stay out all night and really never gave his mother and I any problems. Oh - did I mention that my son was only 5 years old at the time? What you are about to read might surprise you, but I feel that it very well could inspire some of you as parents, not to mention some of your children.

Because my son was an only child, he learned to pacify himself by either watching TV or doodling on paper. We made sure he had all the favorite cartoon movies children liked to watch. It wasn't long before we noticed that our son would watch TV for only a short time before he would go find his toys, which were the small characters in his movies. He would place these toys in front of him with crayon and paper close by, and continue to watch the movies while slowly trying to draw the characters.

One of the techniques that Zig Ziglar mentioned in this book -- I'll have to be honest here, its the only technique that really stood out in my mind; I can't remember the others, but I still have that book -- was to praise the child. But wait! It was to praise the child to other adults in such a way that the child just happened to be within hearing range. It's one thing to receive praise yourself, but to overhear your parents bragging on you to people on the phone or in the other room -- it seems to have a far greater impact. I think we all can relate to that, even as adults.

Back to the title of this little story. "When should an Artist NOT sign his work?" My answer is when he's only 7 years old, and his handwriting is larger than the picture he just finished. See, as we continued to praise Kyle for his artwork, it wasn't long before he was calling himself an Artist, (he believed it with his whole heart) because he overheard us call him that to others. I had already taught him to sign his artwork, because all Artists signed their work.

We had pictures of Darkwing Duck, and every cartoon super hero, pasted all over our refrigerator door. Then something happened. I particularly noticed one picture he drew with a pencil (not a crayon) before he signed it. The picture was of " Pinocchio," and he drew it while looking at the cover of one of his movies. I instantly fell in love with it and didn't want him to ruin it by signing it. (Remember, his handwriting hadn't had as much practice as his art).

So, I asked him if I could have that picture. With a big smile on his face he saw that I really liked that one, so he gave it to me. I immediately placed it in a folder that I used for work.

Kyle knew that I carried that folder to work every day. He would often ask to see that picture and it would always be within arm's reach of where I was sitting. Over the years, I would constantly be looking at that picture when he was in the room. As a matter of fact, I recently decided to scan that picture and put it on the Internet for even you to see. I never got around to having it framed and matted -- I guess I must have known I'd be using it!

Why did I put it on the Internet? Because I still want him to know how much that picture means to me.

One other thing I forgot to mention. He's now 18 years old. He's never let a day go by without drawing something. He began drawing what I always wanted him to draw, "pencil portraits" and back when he was only 14 years old.

One of his first pencil portraits was during the Presidential debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Kyle came home from school with a brochure he got during class as they were discussing the debate. He sat down and drew a very good likeness of what would later become the President of the United States. You can see the drawing of George W. Bush on Kyle's website....

Many parents have shared with us how they've showed their young children -- Kyle's website, to help further inspire their own children's talents. Please feel free to drop Kyle a note in care of my email address : and I'll see that he gets every email commenting on his artwork. We welcome all comments because, yes we were able to raise such a positive kid and we still continue to find ways to let him know it.

We do encourage you to pass this article on to anyone you know that could use an inspiration and we encourage you to praise your children at such an early age. You'll be surprised at just what can be accomplished from a child with a positive self image and positive parents as role models. Please visit to download this story along with the picture Kyle drew at age 6 or 7 and two others he drew at age 14 -- all in an ebook format.

About the Author
Thomas A. Hilton, Jr., entrepreneur, investor and proud father enjoys sharing his experiences and success stories in ebooks. Author of "Entrepreneur's Approach to Buying & Selling on Wall Street" ' and helps to teach others to write ebooks at

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