Locus (not the grass hopper type) is Latin for “place” or “location”. Why the Latin lesson? Because today I’ve been thinking an awful lot about locus of control; where someone believes they get their strength from. People with an EXTERNAL locus of control believe they get their strength from the things, people, and circumstances around them. Those with an INTERNAL locus of control tend to have an inner strength, regardless of external circumstances.
An example you say? Okay. Think back to the Disney classic, Dumbo. Here is a baby elephant that has had a hard start to life. Separated from his mother, rejected and humiliated. Where is he going to find any strength and courage to make it through life? The answer comes in the form of a magic feather. An external locus of control. His magic feather is what makes him fly, gives him courage, grants him freedom he’s never had before. Life is good for little Dumbo. And life is good for those around him. But, like every good story, a critical moment comes when he loses his external locus of control and has to make the shift to an internal locus of control. He has to know within his heart that he can fly, that he carries with him everything he needs to succeed.
Waiting for kids to make this shift can be… difficult. As parents, we want to pull out our hair as they blame everyone and everything around them for their problems. (By the way, this happens for boys around the age of 11). We want them to own their problems and be responsible for their actions. I keep telling myself to be patient. It will happen… someday. If only my kids would lose that damn black feather a little faster.