“What would you work on with my kid?” I’ve been asked this many times from parents, especially those who are teetering with me working with their child and are wondering if their child really needs to see a life coach. Other people ask simply out of curiosity about what I do.
This morning on the 10 year anniversary since my Dad died, I am not going to say I work with kids specifically to help them appreciate their parents while they have them! Although I do think this would be time well spent and a commendable topic of conversation. : )
Gratitude is a worthy topic on many levels and is a big part of what I work on! There are plenty of kids and adults taking too much for granted. We live in a society of more. The next best thing. Instant gratification. Fast pace. So yes, gratitude and slowing down enough to be aware of all the gifts surrounding us is indeed something I work with kids on. I believe gratitude is an essential piece of the puzzle in feeling joy! As is being present! As is having faith that we have the exact experiences and meet the exact people we need to on this journey!
A huge thing gratitude contributes to, in my opinion, is helping kids feel more confident and building their self esteem! In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, she writes about “eudaimonia – nicely taken care of by some external divine creative spirit guide.” She refers to it also as the “exhilarating encounter between a human being and divine creative inspiration.” I believe kids have so many incredible gifts and talents – that often times get cleverly hidden behind fear, judgment, shame, expectations, comparisons and a lack of gratitude. (And sometimes behind behaviors like: lashing out at parents, siblings, peers; I don’t care attitudes; lack of motivation or willingness to try; depression; anxiety; perfectionism.)
Way too many kids today are stuck here! How many kids do you know who are too self conscious to sing along to the radio in front of people? How many would never dance or even b-bop to the music when they are in public? Refuse to draw because they feel they are not good at it? Not twirl their baton for others because they haven’t practiced enough to be really good? Stay stuck on a lower level team with fear and anxiety about not being enough for the next level up? Not try building something new because it might not work? Refuse to try creating or playing a new video and instead stay safe in the ones they have done dozens of times before because they know they can do this?
When kids are really young, you can see them at concerts dancing around…arms waving, body freely flowing, smiling, and overall acting as though they are the only person listening to the music. In fact, I saw this a few weeks ago at an outdoor concert! A little girl in a pink skirt simply BEing in the moment. Full of gratitude for the music and her dance stage! I could feel her joy from way in the back where I was standing! While I observed hundreds of adults and teens sitting like statues…this little girl (and 2 other little kiddos joined in eventually) simply soaked in the moment and let the joy ooze out of her! No fear! No limiting beliefs holding her back. Just allowing herself to act on the joy she felt!
I believe kids today safely tuck away their gifts, talents and uniqueness. My focus when working with kids is to help them recognize who they are, so they can embrace their amazingness and be brave enough to share it!! In my recent Vision Class, I talked with the kids about not stuffing away their “loves” (for baseball, tennis or swimming) simply because they might not be the best! Unfortunately in today’s society, that is what happens, right!? The best players go on to the next level and those who don’t measure up…sometimes by 4th and 5th grade even…slowly and quietly stuff that part of them away because they are not good enough. What if they believed it was okay to simply do what they love because it brings them joy and recognized this was ok?? What if they were grateful they could swim like a fish and feel themselves glide under water like a dolphin and not worry about their time, if they’d win a medal at the next competition, or if they were doing it better than the next kid, but could do it because they recognized the gift they had and how much joy it brings them? (Hell, I would LOVE to be able to swim like this!!!)
I believe EVERY KID is filled with so much potential! Nope, not every kid will be a star player, an award winning designer, the next great artist, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a famous mathematician. Yet, maybe they could be!?!?! Who are we to put limitations on kids, or anyone for that matter? But that is what we do when we don’t help kids feel safe enough to be who they are and give them the tools to know they CAN do whatever their heart desires!!! What if kids embraced and acted on the “creative inspirations” Gilbert describes, instead of holding back because of fear and self doubt? If kids are allowed to BE…if they are given tools to face the obstacles that surround them…if they begin to recognize their uniqueness…if they feel gratitude for the immense gift they are to themselves, their family, society, the world…can you IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES???? This absolutely lights me up!!! Don’t you think this is worth investing in???
What would I work on with your child? Helping them be the very best version, unedited version, of who they are! Who they came to this planet to be! To feel gratitude for all they are and all they are surrounded by! Life coaching isn’t about “bad kids” (for the record this is a huge pet peeve of mine ~ who the hell has the right to say a kid is bad???) and it isn’t about “bad parents”!! It is about gifting kids with tools, new perspectives and I believe the key and freedom to simply be who they are meant to be!
Today especially I honor my Dad for all he did to help me be who I am!! Did he have it all figured out? Nope. Did he sit me down and help me see my gifts and talents and tell me to just simply be me? Nope. Was he the perfect parent? Nope. In all his humanness, he was my Dad and I know he did the best he could for me. I am so grateful for the years I had with him and the opportunity I have now to help kids recognize who they are! My Dad didn’t have a life coach to send me to when I was young. I am so grateful to acknowledge my unique gifts and talents and be brave enough to share them, so parents and kids DO have someone! My Dad is still a huge part of my journey and I am 100% certain he is smiling down on me, guiding me and supporting me! I thank you Daddy-O!! And I love you! Always!