3 Bad Habits from Your English Classes You Need to Break

Is this you?

  • You studied English in school for years, but feel you can¡¯t speak English.
  • You worked hard, you were motivated (eager to learn), and you did what the textbooks and your teachers told you to do.
  • Still, you feel that your English isn¡¯t good enough.

If this sounds like you, then maybe it’s time to break some bad habits.

A habit is something we do without thinking about it very much, almost automatically. To break a habit is to stop that habit, to change the way you act.

The way many of you learned English in school didn¡¯t help you become fluent in English. If you are still doing what you did in school, you’ll probably not make very much progress.

So it¡¯s time stop learning as though you were still in the English classroom. It’s time to break those bad habits.

There are three bad habits I often see in talking to students. These habits stand in your way (stop you from making progress) to better English.

BAD HABIT #1: Do all the “exercises” in the book.

In English class, most of you did vocabulary worksheets, grammar exercises, perhaps recited (repeated out loud) in class, and similar activities.

These activities are very common, but they usually do not help you become better speakers of English!

Why? Because the key to improving your English isn’t to “practice” it by writing or through grammar exercises.

No, the key (most important thing) is to get more input. Input just means anything you read or listen to in English. (I’ll explain more in a minute.)

BAD HABIT #2: Try to remember everything you see or hear.

You have probably spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours doing what some teachers told you would improve your vocabulary and grammar: memorize, memorize, memorize.

And then two days later, you “forget” all you memorized!

Memorizing a lot of English doesn’t usually work very well because we don’t remember things because we try to remember them.

We remember them because they make sense to us, because we understand them, because we comprehend them.

We call this getting lots of “comprehensible input” – language you can understand by listening or reading.

BAD HABIT #3: Force yourself to pay attention.

We¡¯re told in school to force ourselves to pay attention even when we¡¯re bored.

That doesn¡¯t work for learning English (or much else, really).

In fact, this strategy backfires (has the opposite affect). The more bored you are, the less you pay attention and the less you want to listen to or read in English.

And the less you listen and read, the less you improve.

You don’t want to spend your time listening or reading dull or boring things you’re not interested in.

Instead, you want to get language that is compelling (so interesting you can’t stop listening or reading!).

Turn Bad Habits into GOOD Habits

If you do the opposite of these three bad habits – trying to “practice” language through exercises, memorization, and suffering through boring English – you will be much more successful.

That’s because the key to improving English (or any language) is to give your brain compelling comprehensible input.

This just means listening and reading things that you are really interested in AND you can (mostly) understand.

That’s all you need to do!

If you don’t believe me, take a look at this Special Report I wrote that explains all of the “secrets” to improving your English.

You can get it here: tv.eslpod.com/p/5-things-report-signup

So stop wasting your time on things that don’t work. Start the new year off right by doing things we know from research that actually DO improve your English.

What should you listen to or read?

Well, you can of course start by listening and reading our lessons.

Or you could find other interesting and comprehensible materials. But remember: Don’t waste time doing the “activities.” Just focus on listening and reading.

Don¡¯t try to remember everything you hear or read. With enough “input,” it will all enter into your memory.

And if you get bored, change to a different lesson and find a topic that keeps your attention!

Break these three bad habits and you¡¯ll be on your way to improving your English.

~ Jeff

P.S. Get two months free access to all 1800+ lessons when you sign up for a yearly membership. See here for more information: tv.eslpod.com

P.P.S. Like this short English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .

And much, much more!

Posted in How to Learn English | Comments Off on 3 Bad Habits from Your English Classes You Need to Break

Turning Over a New Leaf

It¡¯s New Year¡¯s Eve and time to ring in the new year (welcome and celebrate the new year)!

For many people, the start of a new year means starting with a clean slate.

Slate is type of dark gray stone. In the old days, each student would have his or her own piece of slate to write on in the classroom.

Slate was easy to write on and to erase (removed writing). So “starting with a clean slate” means you¡¯ve erased the past and are starting again.

For some, the new year is a time to kick a habit.

A habit is something we do that is difficult to stop doing.

Bad habits include smoking, drinking too much alcohol, biting your fingernails, and kicking cats (okay, not that last one).

To kick a bad habit is to stop doing something bad or something that is bad for you.

I will state (announce) right here that my New Year¡¯s resolution (promise) is to kick no more cats.*

If you kick your bad habits and make better life decisions, you are turning over a new leaf.

We use this idiom, “to turn over a new leaf,” to mean that we are making a positive change in our life, usually after bad or negative period.

Earlier this year, I turned over a new leaf and began weight training (lifting heavy weights to build muscle) and exercising regularly. (You start losing muscles when you get old if you don’t do anything about it!)

I don¡¯t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger (yet), but check back with me (ask me again) in a few years¡­well, maybe in a few decades (groups of 10 years).

And if you falter (lose strength or motivation), don¡¯t forget: ¡°If at first you don¡¯t succeed, try, try again.¡±

This means to be persistent (don¡¯t stop trying).

If all else fails (If every effort is unsuccessful), you and I will turn over a new leaf again in 2021.

Happy New Year!

Jeff

*Maybe

P.S. A great New Year’s resolution would be to start improving your English again. Try our Unlimited English Membership to get access to more than 1800+ episodes. More information here: tv.eslpod.com

P.P.S. Like this short English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .

And much, much more!

Posted in Life in the United States | Comments Off on Turning Over a New Leaf

Happy Holidays!

On behalf of (From) everyone here at ESLPod.com, we want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy holiday season!

We are lucky that all of you have chosen to learn English with us.

It¡¯s both a pleasure and a privilege (a special honor) to do what we do, and we appreciate your support.

We especially thank our members who make it possible for us to keep ESLPod.com going.

From the bottom of our hearts, we wish you a holiday season filled with peace and joy!

~ Jeff and Lucy

Posted in Announcements | Comments Off on Happy Holidays!

The Best Gift of All for the Holidays

Tired of going to the mall (shopping center) to buy presents (gifts)?

Tired of searching online for the “perfect” gift?

Search no more! I have the best gift you can give yourself or your loved ones (people you love) this holiday season (Christmas, Hanukkah).

The gift of English!

Why, of course I mean a membership in our Unlimited English program. It’s the perfect gift.

Give yourself or a loved one an annual membership and save additional money! Get 2 months free when you sign up for a full year.

Or start with a monthly membership that also gives you access to 1800+ English lessons.

To sign up today, go to our website:

~Jeff

P.S. You can also give this gift of English for birthdays, New Years Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and any national holiday where you live.

P.P.S. Get ready for the holidays in English with these special episodes:

Daily English 112 – Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa

Daily English 854 – Singing Christmas Carols

Daily English 226 – Holiday Decorating

P.P.P.S. Like this short English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .

And much, much more!

Posted in Life in the United States | Comments Off on The Best Gift of All for the Holidays

Edison, You Light Up My Life

Thomas Edison was very smart guy.

We know him as the inventor of the first practical (able to be used in everyday ways) light bulb. But that¡¯s not the only thing Edison did in his lifetime.

He also created the first strand (string of connected things) of electric lights – Christmas lights.

At Christmas time in 1880, Edison made strands of lights and hung them around the outside of his laboratory (scientist’s workplace) in New Jersey. People traveling on the railroad trains passing his laboratory got the first look at this new light display (presentation).

But it took another 40 years before people started using electric Christmas lights in their homes.

Part of the problem was that people didn¡¯t trust electricity. They didn¡¯t know what this new invention was and didn¡¯t know if it was safe.

Ironically (seeing things in a funny, reverse way; unexpectedly), before electric lights, families decorated their Christmas trees with candles (sticks of wax that burned for light), which was of course much more dangerous and caused a lot of fires!

It was actually President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) who helped make electric Christmas lights more acceptable to Americans.

In 1895, President Cleveland asked that the White House family Christmas tree be illuminated (able to see using lights) by hundreds of colored electric light bulbs.

And on Christmas Eve 1923, President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) began the American tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree with 3,000 electric lights at the White House.

While Thomas Edison may have been the first to create strands of electric light in 1880, it was actually Albert Sadacca who made electric Christmas lights available to the public.

The Sadacca family owned a lighting company. In 1917 Albert Sadacca, a teenager at the time, suggested that its store sell brightly colored strands of Christmas lights for customers to buy.

It worked (was successful). By the 1920¡¯s, the Sadacca company was a top seller of Christmas lights in the U.S. and continued that success through the 1960s.

Growing up, my mother used to create her own “Santa’s village” (small town) at our house. She collected and made a lot of miniature (small size) homes, people, and decorations and created her own village celebrating Christmas.

She decorated it with lights. The display became bigger each year. It began on a small table in the living room and by the time I was in college, it had taken over our entire front porch (enclosed patio).

And it wouldn¡¯t have been the same without Christmas lights.

Needless to say (it¡¯s clear without me saying it), my mother really likes Christmas!

Jeff

P.S. Looking for a great holiday gift this year, for yourself or a loved one (someone you love)? Give the gift of English with one of our Unlimited English Memberships!

Get access to 1800+ English lessons on (almost) every possible topic known to homo sapiens (humans).

Go here:

P.P.S. Like this short English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .

And much, much more!

Image by Michelle Maria from Pixabay
Posted in Life in the United States | Comments Off on Edison, You Light Up My Life

Brrr . . . Give me a Hot Toddy!

It¡¯s not snowing here in Los Angeles, but it¡¯s pretty chilly (cold). It¡¯s dipped down to (reached the low temperature of) 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius)!

I need to keep warm, and since it¡¯s winter, I¡¯m putting aside my coffee and tea for one of these popular winter beverages (drinks).

Hot Chocolate/Cocoa:

I drank a lot of hot chocolate and hot cocoa growing up in very cold Minnesota.

My brothers and sisters and I liked to go sledding, moving very fast down a hill of snow on a plastic or wooden sled (something you can sit in to travel over snow without wheels). There is nothing better than some hot chocolate or hot cocoa when your hands and feet feel frozen (like ice).

Hot cocoa is usually made with cocoa powder, a chocolate powder (substance with very small, dry pieces), sugar, and milk. Hot cocoa is usually a “thin” (watery; like water) drink.

(Note that ¡°cocoa¡± is pronounced ¡°co-co¡± in English, with a long “o” as in “low”. We don’t pronounce the “a”.)

Hot chocolate is typically made with melted (turned into liquid because of warm/hot temperature) chocolate and water or milk. It has a “thicker” (not as watery) consistency (how thin or thick a liquid is).

(For more vocabulary related to cold and hot drinks, see our Daily English #1270 – Cold and Frozen Treats.)

Hot Toddy:

For grownups (adults), a popular winter drink is a hot toddy.

It¡¯s made by mixing honey (sweet, sticky liquid made by bees), water, and a type of liquor (alcoholic drink), usually whiskey.

Whiskey is a type of alcohol made with grain, such as corn, wheat, or rye.

Add some lemon and spices (good smelling substances to add flavor to food and drink) and you have a hot toddy.

Some people say drinking hot toddies when you have a cold or the flu makes you feel better. I¡¯ve never tried it, but I’m sure after several hot toddies you will forget you are sick.

Eggnog:

Eggnog is the classic (traditional) drink of Christmas. It¡¯s made with eggs, sugar, milk or cream (thick white liquid that rises to the top of milk), spices, and often some alcohol, such as rum.

Rum is a type of alcohol that is made from sugarcane, the tall grasses grown mainly for sugar. The eggs and cream make eggnog a thick drink.

Personally, I don¡¯t like eggnog, but I like rum. Maybe with enough good rum, I can learn to like eggnog, too.

So this winter, maybe you¡¯ll be drinking one of these beverages to stay warm. Or you can just buy a bottle of good rum to keep you warm.

Better still (even better), buy two and send one to me.

Jeff

* ¡°Brrr” is an exclamation we use to when we feel cold.

P.S. Like this short English lesson? Then you’ll love our Unlimited English membership:

Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .

And much, much more!

Posted in Life in the United States | Comments Off on Brrr . . . Give me a Hot Toddy!

December is the Time for Running

For many Americans, December is the month for running, so here’s a quick look at some of the ways we can use the verb “run” in English.

It¡¯s a busy month of running errands (making short trips to complete tasks) getting ready for the holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve.

We often run late (are behind schedule) and seldom run on time (are on schedule), much less (even less likely) run early (are ahead of schedule).

When I was growing up in a house with 13 people and two bathrooms (true story), everything had to run like clockwork if everyone was to get ready in the morning for work or for school.

To run like clockwork means for events to happen smoothly and as you planned, without any unpleasant surprises.

That’s not to say that my parents ran a tight ship.

To run a tight ship means to be a strict manager or boss. If they had, they would have watched us carefully and made sure that each of their 11 children did exactly what they were supposed to do.

That didn¡¯t happen, but that¡¯s because we were perfect children, especially the youngest (me!).

During December, many of us run out of steam, or lose energy or enthusiasm.

If you decide to start your own company, for example, and it¡¯s taking a lot longer than you expected, you might run out of steam.

And when you¡¯ve visited the 50th store looking for just the right presents (gifts) for your family, you might also run out of steam (and money, too).

So this holiday season, I hope that you run on time (or even early!) for every event, everything you plan runs like clockwork, and no one runs out of steam until the last glass of champagne (French wine with bubbles)!

~Jeff

P.S. For more great idioms related to time, check out Daily English #695, “Being Late for an Event,” which is part of our Select and Unlimited English Memberships.

P.P.S. Like this short English lesson? Then you’ll love our Unlimited English membership:

Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .

And much, much more!

 

Photo by SJ Baren on Unsplash
Posted in Language & Terms | Comments Off on December is the Time for Running

Where We Get Our Thanksgiving Turkeys

In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims, a group of mostly English citizens who were among the first to settle (move to and live) in what is now the northeastern U.S., held a three day celebration for a bountiful harvest.

Harvest refers to the food you get from trees and plants, usually (in the U.S.) in the autumn (fall). Bountiful means a lot of something, often more than you need.

The local American Indian tribe (group), the Wampanoag, participated in the 1621 celebration as well.

This celebration by the Pilgrims is considered the first ¡°Thanksgiving,¡± a giving of thanks for the blessings (favors given by God) to the early settlers (colonists; people who move to a new place to live).

Thanksgiving became a national holiday in the U.S. in the middle of the Civil War, in 1863. President Lincoln declared (announced; decided) that the last Thursday in November would be a day of giving thanks. Americans still celebrate it today.

(To learn more about Thanksgiving, see our Cultural English #60.)

Beginning in the 1930s, the day was changed to the fourth Thursday in November, in case there were five Thursdays in that year.

Favorites at Thanksgiving in many families (including mine) are turkey and cranberry sauce, a sweet sauce made from small berries.

But where do we get our turkeys?

The #1 turkey-producing state in the U.S. is my very own Minnesota, which raises 45 million turkeys a year!

Next are North Carolina and Arkansas, followed by Indiana, Missouri, and Virginia. These six states produce two-thirds of all turkeys raised in the United States. There are around 240 million turkeys sold in the U.S. each year.

Turkey is so popular in the U.S. that we have a few small towns with the name ¡°turkey¡± in them, including Turkey Creek, Arizona (population: 294) and Turkey, Texas (population: 384).

I never knew that Minnesota produced so many turkeys. I will be thankful for my home state as I sit down this Thursday and fill myself with lots and lots of turkey.

~Jeff

P.S. Like this short English lesson? Then you’ll love our Unlimited English membership:

Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .

And much, much more!

 

Photo by SJ Baren on Unsplash
Posted in Life in the United States | Comments Off on Where We Get Our Thanksgiving Turkeys

American Cities Named After Americans

Because America is a relatively new country compared to many nations, many of the names we have for our cities and towns come from famous Americans in the past 200 years.

For example, Houston, Texas, is named after Sam Houston, who was a very important political figure (person involved in politics) in the history of Texas in the 1800s. (Learn more about Houston in Cultural English 215).

Many other American cities are also named after important historical figures (people in history).

Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, was named of course after George Washington, the first president of the United States, in 1791. (We talked about Washington, D.C. in Cultural English 58.)

Washington is also the only president of the U.S. who has a state named after him as well.

If you guessed “Washington,” good work!

Seattle, Washington, is another city named after an important historical figure.

The city was named for Chief Seattle, a leader of two Native American tribes. He was a prominent (important and famous) leader who wanted to have a peaceful coexistence (living together) with the white settlers (people who move to an area, usually with few other people living there).

Not all cities that were named for people were named after American political or historical figures. Some are named after cities or places in other parts of the world.

The word “new” got added to these place names at times, so we get names like “New York” and “New Jersey” after the English city of York and the island of Jersey.

Some cities were named after religious figures. The city of Los Angeles, for instance, was named after ¡°Our Lady the Queen of the Angels,¡± another name for Mary, the mother of Jesus, founder of the Christian religion.

Similarly, the cities of San Jose and San Diego were named after Christian ¡°saints,¡± people who are considered very holy (dedicated or special to God).

I don’t think there is a town named “McQuillan” anywhere in the world (I checked Google Maps just now!). But there is a McQuillan Park in my hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. The park was named after my great-uncle (my father’s uncle). He was an important businessman in the early 20th century in the city.

I also just discovered that there is a mountain in western Canada (British Columbia) called “Mount McQuillan.”

I had never heard of it before today. I don’t know which McQuillan it is named after, but probably not me.

Maybe some day I will climb it (go up it)!

~Jeff

P.S. Did you know we talk about lots of U.S. states, cities, and famous Americans in our Cultural English series? You can learn more here.

P.P.S. Like this short English lesson? Then you’ll love our Unlimited English membership:

Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .

And much, much more!

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Posted in Life in the United States | Comments Off on American Cities Named After Americans

Helicopter Dads and Snowplow Moms

Raising children (helping them grow up) isn¡¯t easy. It¡¯s even harder if you¡¯re a helicopter or snowplow parent.

Let me explain.

Lately (recently), Americans have been talking about different ways of parenting (bringing up or raising children) that¡¯s very different from the way I grew up.

Helicopters are a type of aircraft that flies using long blades that rotate (go in a circle) at very high speeds. They are usually used for short trips and they can hover (remain flying) just above the ground.

That¡¯s what helicopter parents do: They hover over their children.

Helicopter parents want to protect their children from any bad influences and experiences. They watch them carefully, worrying about everything they do, eat, see, touch, and feel.

They worry a lot about their child¡¯s well being (comfort, health, and happiness) and try to control as many aspects or parts of their child¡¯s life as they can.

Snowplow parents are similar. A snowplow is a type of truck used to move snow off roads. It pushes the snow so that cars can drive on the street.

Snowplow parents do all the things helicopter parents do, but their main concern is to remove any obstacles (anything that slows or stops progress) to their child’s success.

Sometimes snowplow parents go to extremes (doing something beyond what is expected or acceptable). They insist on their child getting first place (winning) and sometimes blame the school or teachers if they don¡¯t achieve it.

Several snowplow parents? – a few of them Hollywood celebrities – were recently found to have lied on their child’s college applications, and even bribed people at the university to get their children admitted (accepted to study there).

Nobody would fault (say it is wrong for) parents for trying to do the best for their children. Some people say, though, that helicopter and snowplow parents go too far and are doing a disservice (something harmful) to their children.

Many think that you should allow children to make their own mistakes. They need to learn how to overcome (deal with) some of their own obstacles. It’s all part of handling disappointments in life.

In this view, kids with helicopter and snowplow parents won’t learn to be resilient (become able to recover from disappointments and defeats).

This is, of course, very different from how I grew up. I¡¯m the youngest of 11 children and my parents didn¡¯t have time to be helicopters or snowplows.

But even in smaller families, parents did not try to control every aspect (part) of their children’s lives.

I think that was a good thing. We learn more from our mistakes than our successes!

Jeff

P.S. For more English related to being a parent, try our Daily English 558 and Daily English 1302.

P.P.S. Like this short English lesson? Then you’ll love our Unlimited English membership:

Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .

And much, much more!

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Posted in Language & Terms, Life in the United States | Comments Off on Helicopter Dads and Snowplow Moms