FEEDING THE WOLF!
So how can schools and parents help the next generation learn ways to ‘be’ that enable young people to become their best selves, develop confidence in who they are, increase their chances of being resilient in the face of challenges and come to a clear and positive identity that enhances their self-respect, positive qualities and authentic wellbeing. Here are just a few of the possibilities.
Strengths based language:
Children who hear messages about themselves from people who are significant to them about their value and qualities will try and live up to these expectations. Deficit language – ‘you are so naughty’, ‘you are just being lazy’ give individuals little to live up to. Strengths based language in a primary school setting would sound something like this: “I noticed that you included Mario in your game today. Seems like you are becoming a really friendly person. Good for you.” And in a high school: “You have made a big effort with this piece of work and it shows – you are setting high standards. How does this make you feel about yourself?”
When children come into school using inappropriate language you know that they have learnt to do this by watching and listening to those around them. When a young pupil looks after another who has fallen over you know that this care has been shown to them.
Modelling is critical.
Children watch how adults manage difficulties, they hear conversations that give them ideas about what is important in life, they observe how people treat others and they have experiences that give them understanding of qualities such as empathy, respect and fairness. Every adult in a school needs a high level of awareness of the models they are providing for learners. When a student hears an adult in a position of authority pick on or belittle someone they learn that this is the way to be a leader. When they see someone empower another, this offers an alternative way of being. So it is critical as parents that we model what we would like to see our children be and become.
This week focus on your language and your own behaviour, know that you are being watched, no pressure!!! Remember the importance that honesty has for those young people around us, we as parents/adults will not always be perfect or model appropriately. It’s being up to pick up when there was a better way to do and say something and being able to admit that, this in itself is also modelling.
So have fun and enjoy the process of helping your children become their best heroes. Next week I share a few other tips to help with this journey…stay tuned.