Have you noticed the frequency of mistakes made in business transactions? Several folks have mentioned lately how frustrating it is to talk to persons on the phone who represent businesses. It is difficult to get clear answers to questions. Could this be happening because those people were not taught to be accurate when they were children?

If children are not taught to be accurate with their work, they grow up thinking that it is adequate to do just enough to get by. Not only should they be taught to be accurate with work, but they also need to learn to be accurate in what they say. Perhaps we adults are just as guilty as the children in this area. That is carrying over as an example to the ones who learn more by example than any other way.

Quite often, in our society, children are rewarded for inferior work. With good intentions, adults often want everyone to win so no one will feel badly. This is an unrealistic view of life. If children think they will be rewarded whether or not they do excellent work, why would they want to strive for perfection?

There was a time in school when children were required to do work over and over until they got it right. Now, sometimes that is still true, but often it is not. Many children fill in blanks on papers that have been copied and do not have to write complete sentences. If a misspelled word is close enough to the correct answer, the child is allowed to get by with it without learning to spell the word. Many of my GED students made a capital C or S all through a paper. When I corrected them, they responded, “That’s the way I always make my [letter]." It is obvious they were allowed to do this in school. My response is, “You are making it wrong."

Many times it is difficult to get a child to explain something orally. Quite often a child will say, “You know,” or “Whatever.” They talk in half sentences, expecting the listener to understand the meaning behind the few words spoken. We shouldn’t let children get by with this. The children should learn to say what they mean and mean what they say. The way a child talks affects the way that child writes. Speaking and writing accurately requires clear thinking. Being a responsible adult also requires clear thinking.

It is so easy for adults to fall into a pattern of getting down to a child’s level instead of bringing a child up to the adult level. When this happens, we all end up thinking and acting like children. We need to be trying to help our children become responsible adults who can express themselves accurately and do accurate written work. Our culture of “If it feels good, do it” needs to go away and a new culture of “Do it right” needs to come to our society.