Jayaram V. observes, “[Self-talk] is your inseparable twin with which you have to live the rest of your life.” (writing on Hinduwebsite.com) We cheer up the children in our life when we show them how to ensure that their inseparable twin is affirming and truthful.
1st way to cheer up a child: We are in this together
For one week, speak freely about your self-talk. Say out loud what you’re telling yourself in your head, especially if it’s negative (keeping it age appropriate, obviously). Invite them to tell you when you either are not taking responsibility for your own behavior by blaming someone else, OR assuming responsibility for something that is not your fault.
Simultaneously call your kids’ attention to times they are doing the same thing. There is huge relief for children in shared experience.
When’s the last time you heard a child say: I had to do that. I didn’t have any choice! or She made me do it! or I’m bored… there’s nothing to do. or It wasn’t my fault… he started it! Sometimes kids find themselves in situations in which they think they just don’t have any choices.
It might not seem so at first, but kids always have choices.
That’s what step 2 in the CHOOSE tool is all about
What does spiritual discouragement look like in children? No hope for a way out of a tough situation? The faith (or nonfaith) they are growing up with not aligning with what they read, hear, see or feel in school and the world around them? Tired of rituals that do not resonate?
In the depths of their spirit they might hurt because of bad religion or no religion. Maybe a young person is seeking to understand new sensations that “something other” is nearby, hoping, if they focus on that mysterious presence (of God?), it will manifest itself in their life. Or maybe they’re running away from religion or it just doesn’t make sense to them now in their current stage of life.