It took me a long time to learn this lesson...like 30+ years. But now that I got it, I realized how important it was for me to pass along this loving message of faith to others.
We somehow are brought up to believe that when we set out to do something, go from point A to point B, that it is going to turn out linear. That everything we desire in our mind is going to manifest, that the path is going to be laid out perfectly in front of us. But, we likely know as parents now that this is not true...
Have you ever heard that when you resist things persist? Or not to hold onto things too tightly? Or maybe that detours are obstacles in the right direction?
Yeah - maybe you just eye-rolled. But seriously. As an adult, having years to reflect on the ways that life has always work out for you in major ways, can you respect these sayings and now believe in them? Maybe yes, maybe you're unsure, but just roll with me...
We have a huge opportunity to teach our kids how to have a flexible mindset, one that grows through what they go through. And that means we need to teach them how to deal with things not turning out their way...maybe turning out better than they thought it would.
Here are 4 ways that mindful empowerment skills can play a roll in helping kids roll with the punches!
FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION. Okay, we have been told in society to follow assignments, get 'good grades' and set goals we want to achieve in life. Work hard for it. Effort produces results that are totally amazing. But what if the end-result turns out different than you think? For example, what if you were working on being a defence player on a hockey team and instead the coach thinks you'd be an awesome goalie - would you take the detour as a win or fail? Doesn't matter what the answer is, I want to shift your focus from the end-result to the desire. If your desire to be on a team, to play with friends, to have fun because you love the game, then the end result of the position is not important. The journey is where the focus should be. You may want to hold the vision of being a defensive player, while also knowing that not everything comes as you want it to appear. Maybe you will accept the goalie position and be a star! Maybe you will reject that team and try for another team. Maybe you will practice for another year and try again. When we focus on the journey and not the destination, we can go with the flow of the goal, learning, growing and accepting the opportunities that come you way.
PAUSE WHEN STUCK. It's cool and awesome to have a vision in mind. We want out kids to be goal-getters. But again, sometimes what happens is we hold onto our vision too tightly. We don't leave enough room for the flow of our good emotions to take lead and show us that good things are coming our way. When we get stuck, pause. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to honour exactly where we are at, name the feelings (frustrated, angry, disappointed, scared, confused) and let it be. You can even picture it in your body as a cloud, not a part of you, but something that can be lifted out with a breath when you're ready to release it. Don't judge the feeling or emotion - being a goal-getter isn't easy! You're holding an awesome dream. But it's worth it. The pause and noticing of feelings will help you stay true to who you are. When you accept the feeling within and learn to let it go, you can then move into a direction that feels good to you. You aren't letting your feelings run the show.
DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT: When we are ready to move on from the pause, the next thing you can do is shift focus onto something that is going to help you move into a better mindset just for you - no one else. Oftentimes we need to disconnect to reconnect with clarity in a detour situation. All this means is it's okay to take a break before we make decisions - big or small. So after the pause, ask yourself this important question: What do I need right now?
Maybe you need to zone out playing a game or doing a craft.
Maybe you need to take a walk.
Maybe you need to eat a meal.
Maybe you need to talk to a friend.
Maybe you need to get a hug from a parent.
Maybe you need to tell yourself a phrase of encouragement.
Maybe you need to sit in silence for a minute.
Whatever it is you need, give yourself that thing. Distraction is medicine. Learn to take the break needed to be guided in the right direction - without thinking or judging your thoughts. this break is an opportunity to get out of your head and into a place that feels right, calm, connected to who you are inside and that internal voice will speak up in interesting ways.
REACH FOR THE GOOD: When you feel like you're ready to reconnect to the situation, reach for what feels good in it. In the hockey example, you may want to say to yourself, or journal, a stream of positive thoughts like:
I made the team, the coach thinks I can save all the goals, the team can rely on me to be a core member of the team in front of the net, a goalie is a major job, even though it was unexpected this position could be a great opportunity, I could learn a lot from this experience, I don't have to play in this role forever, I could give it a shot and see if I like it, worst case I don't enjoy it and leave the team, I can let the team know in advance that I am going to give this as a test to see how it feels...etc.
Or it can sound like this:
I made the team but it's not what I was looking for, I am thankful that I got a spot on the team but it's not what I was looking for, I don't want to let anyone down but I don't want to let myself down, this isn't a position for me, I am going to try again or try another team, maybe I can work with a coach to help me focus on some defensive skills, I am grateful for the opportunity to have tried out it was a cool experience, if I don't make a competitive team this year I can focus on having fun on my other team, I like the people on the team we have so much fun
I hope these mindful empowerment steps are helpful and will allow for your children to have fun goal-setting, learning about flexibility and faith in the misdirected steps. It's all about how we frame it and a healthy mind begins by offering tools of inner work to stay connected to yourself in these moments - knowing your true goals, believing in life's journey and loving the process of creating your desires. Follow the good.
And hey. Use these steps when your child is not goal setting but just in a tough moment. I know that this works when my kids are upset about a Covid detour or a playdate canceled or plans just simply shifted. If we can focus on the change being for good, the lens of love will flow free and good will become their energy.
P.S. If you're looking for ways to add mindful empowerment convos into your daily routines, check out the NEW Mini Pep-Talk Card Deck! 30 cards designed to connect children to their inner guide by sharing topics on: resilience, friendship, self-love, compassion, gratitude and more.