Life can be messy and complicated. It can often feel like a struggle. There’s so much information out there, so many distractions, so many seemingly important things to do, to think of and be aware of. But when it comes to kids and the important things they need to know, it can be deceptively simple.
They need to:
Know they are loved.
Know they are safe.
Know they are enough the way they are.
You don’t need to be a psychologist to know how profound and important those statements are, yet unfortunately our society rarely gives them any value. It’s more about getting good grades, being popular, fitting in, getting a good job, being successful and avoiding anything negative. Throw on top of that the effect of social media, overworked and stressed parents and an overly competitive society.
It’s easy for kids to fall through the cracks and then feel as though they’ve failed.
I was one of those kids.
Even though I had a messy childhood, I overcame set backs and failures to end up living a life that I could only have dreamed of. It didn’t happen by chance though, I realised that there were certain qualities that were essential to becoming who I am now.
It wasn’t having a good education or a good job as you’d expect, as I initially didn’t have either of them. The essential qualities were more intrinsic than that. They were self awareness, emotional well-being, curiosity, resilience, empathy and creativity. It’s those aspects that helped me be more comfortable with life and with myself. With those as my foundation, I was more able to see life as an adventure instead of feeling like a failure and a disappointment.
I wasn’t taught these skills in school, I learned them along the way. And I’m now gently showing how important they are to today’s kids and parents through my books and workshops. As I said, it’s easy to be weighed down by all the information that’s available and the expectations of being a parent so I want to make it easier by helping people start conversations with kids about things that really matter.
“He’s been through a lot in his first 5 years of life and that left me with a little boy who had extreme separation anxiety, anger outbursts, and a general unease. We’ve read this book more times than I can count. It’s opened up an incredible dialogue between the two of us, things I didn’t realise even had an impact on him, I learnt did. By opening up this dialogue he no longer has separation anxiety, his outbursts are less and he has tools to deal with his anger. It is now my go to gift for every child over 3. It changed mine and my little dudes life. Thank you” – Melissa.
The rates of suicide and depression in this country are staggering and I want to be able to help in some small way. I’m not an expert in the field, but I know from personal experience that every little bit of self understanding helps and being able to talk openly about what’s going on can have a big impact.
I want to create a space for kids and their parents to feel safe to talk openly about life’s big issues, and about what they’re feeling. Hopefully then the child will continue to talk about how they’re feeling as they grow into an adult, especially boys.
Wisdom to help kids thrive in a rapidly changing world.
In Yuval Huri’s Book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century he mentions that kids who are in school now will need far more that an a standard education to thrive by 2050. They’ll end up needing to reinvent themselves many times over as machine learning, AI and bio tech replace many current white collar and blue collar jobs. The skills that will be most valuable he says are; adaptability, resilience, emotional awareness and creativity.
While education is essential, and our schools and teachers are doing the best they can, they can only do so much. Thankfully there’s now more emphasis on helping kids learn the intrinsic values of self awareness, emotional well-being, curiosity, resilience, empathy and creativity. It’s these values that help kids be more comfortable with who they are, and more able to cope with change.
If we can start teaching kids to make friends with themselves now, they’re not only be better equipped to thrive later in life, they’ll also be more likely to create a happier and kinder world.
And there’s a wonderful by product from all of this. When we help kids to make friends with themselves, we are also helping to become friends with ourselves too.
It all starts with ourselves.
Everything I promote in my books and workshops is what I would go back and tell myself younger self, including those all important three things at the top of the page.
I am loved.
I am safe.
I am enough the way I am.
It’s a wonderfully simple idea. And it’s from that idea, my first kid’s book was born Being You is Enough.