Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’
I learnt about Down Syndrome first hand during my first year of university. I was working with a child with Down Syndrome during my work experience. At first, it was scary and I felt devastated. After getting to know the kid, I learned that he was no different than any other child with intellectual difficulties. To my greatest surprise, he improved quickly and learned a lot. It made me wonder how far we could go. I had my doubts when he did not get things the first time around, but he taught me that as long as I continued to teach him, he would continue to learn.
This experience, coupled with my work on a project about creative thinking (where we tried to teach physics to grade 1 students), taught me that too often we limit kids by our expectations. If we allow them to move forward at their own pace, they will exceed our highest expectations.
I really love movies. I remember the first movie I ever watched on the big screen at the age of 11. My dad used to have a second job selling movie tickets in the small town we lived in. He could never let us in for free but he would make cones out of newspaper and give us free popcorn.
Movies have always been a source of inspiration for me. As an author, I see the stories I write unfold like movies in my head. I think an author is kind of like a director, only an author has to do all the aspects of production in their head.
I get a lot of inspiration for my writing from the people in my life. Lucky for me, my profession allows me to meet lots of them, which means I can mix and shuffle their stories to create new situations, scenarios, and outcome for my books. This is something I can do entirely in my head, and when everything is arranged just right, I write down on paper the story I saw in my mind.
People are also a great inspiration to me for how I want to live my life. I have made a point to learn something by observing the lives of the people around me. Each of them has something to share.
When those around us do not support us, we can try to get rid of them. But sometimes they are the people we love, those who are close to us. If we got rid of all the people we feel do not give us love, cannot give us care, consideration, encouragement, motivation, hope, inspiration, kindness, empathy, compassion, or forgiveness, we would probably be a bit lonely. If they stay around us, we need to develop selective hearing. The best way for me to explain what I mean is through the story of the deaf frog.
Once upon a time, a group of small frogs decided to have a climbing competition. Their goal was to reach the top of a very tall tower. The frog community was very happy and excited. Many frogs gathered around the tower to watch the race and cheer the competitors on. The tower was so tall that no one in the crowed really believed the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. Throughout the competition, the crowd said things like: “The tower is too high”, “Oh, way too difficult”, “They will never make it to the top”, “There is no chance they will succeed”, and the tiny frogs began collapsing, one by one. At those who kept climbing the crowd continued to yell, “It is too difficult! No one will make it!”, “Just give up!”, “What needs to happen, for you to understand that you cannot make it?” and more and more tiny frogs got tired and gave up. But one continued to climb higher and higher. This one tiny frog refused to give up and kept on climbing. With a final big effort, he reached the top. When the winning frog came down, all of the other tiny frogs wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it. They asked him how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal. It turned out that the winning frog was deaf!
Some goals are very hard to reach. That is why climbing is often used as an inspirational metaphor. Imagine yourself wanting to reach the top of a very high mountain. You know that it is going to be hard and maybe even long. You can prepare yourself for some of the paths you will need to take to reach the top of the mountain, but for others, you can’t.
In life coaching, we say that we can only work on the things we can prepare for. Why? Because “we do not know what we do not know” so we cannot prepare for it. We are not fortune tellers. Often we are able to think of a few challenges we might encounter on the road to wherever we are going, but we never know exactly what we will face. We cannot carry absolutely everything we might need for any possible unforeseen event.
Every mountain requires a climb. Sometimes the hill is steep and sometimes it is moderate. Some people have smaller legs and they need more steps, while others have giant legs and require less energy. Sometimes, you are physically strong, have lots of muscles and can run up the hill. Sometimes, you are a bit weaker and must rest every 2 meters. Regardless of your circumstances, climbing requires effort. The thing that determines if we make it to the top is whether we believe we can. Because as the saying goes, “if you believe you can or believe you can’t, you are right”.
For most of us, gifted children and creativity go hand in hand. Not all gifted children are creative. A child can be very gifted at memorizing things which requires no creativity. Yet all creative kids are gifted because creativity opens the kids’ minds to lots of opportunities.
I think parenting requires creativity. Not all parents master parenting. Some parents are not very creative in their philosophy and actions. But that does not mean they cannot develop that creativity, that drive and flexibility to search for, and find that switch in their kid’s brain.
In my last “Gifted Children” post, I shared an assignment our 11 year old daughter, Noff, had to do for school. Mr. Martin was very impressed with her work and showed it to all the teachers and even the principal. In a way, he turned on Noff’s switch. She was so “switched on” that she would get up early in the morning to work on her assignment.
From the moment we are born, time is a great challenge for us. We learn to read the clock around the age of 6 or 7 and we build our life around the time, but we do never have a good understanding of time. Although we all have the same amount of time, we treat it differently.
The movie In Time is a wonderful masterpiece about our relationship with time. The movie Tuck Everlasting is another wonderful attempt, examining life without the limitation of time. The concept of time is so interesting for me that I have dedicated a whole book to our existence in this puzzle of past, present and future. In this book, I do not claim to understand time, just to explore it. I think that time can be a servant or a master and that we can be trapped in time or freed by it.
One of the biggest miseries of life is to be trapped in a time we no longer have control over – the past. Many of my clients come to coaching to understand this and to free themselves from the pain of the past. If you have had a chance to read the previous chapter about blame and justification, you probably understand the limitations of living in the past and allowing the past to limit. Whenever we have a bad experience and we use the past to justify it, we keep ourselves stuck.
To help your children find their gifts and talents, it is good to find yours first. Children learn best by example and this will make you a role model for being gifted. Here are my simple rules for finding your switch.
Do not do anything out of fear, guilt or shame, because that will just make your brain a darker place. If you want to help your kids, make sure they do not do things for you. Doing things just to please others is a sign of a dark, dark place and no learning and growth can happen there. So do not make your kids feel guilty for not practicing their musical instrument and do not make them feel bad about not achieving.
Most people (and children) already have the light shining through them, but they just do not recognize it or appreciate it. Finding the things you are good at is a very good way to narrow down the search for your light switch. If you let go of following the school system, which only focuses on three areas, you will find that there are millions of other places to look and millions of things to look for.
The “things I am good at” list is a very important list for grownups and for kids. Kids are not used to saying things like that about themselves and they grow up to be grownups who do not appreciate themselves. Try making this list on your own, but if you are stuck, ask others to help you by telling you what they think you are good at. Children may need more help to make this list. As I always say, aim to put 100 items on your list.
Last week, I ran two parenting workshops. At each one, I told the parents that I had found an amazing formula for raising gifted children and that my goal for the day was to share this formula, or at least the main parts of it, with them.
Every time I run a workshop, I get puzzled looks and parents ask, “How can you share such a thing with us? Aren’t kids either gifted or not?”
Well, no! Kids are gifted. Period. We just have to help them discover their particular gifts.
Imagine that the brain has switches. Kids are born with all the switches turned on. As they experience life, they learn to specialize, to switch some off and keep some on. It is impossible to have all these switches on all the time, so the mechanism of turning some of them off is very healthy and helps people survive. Can you imagine an expert who specializes in biology, art, history, electricity and music? I did not think so. The idea of specializing is that we narrow down our range interests to allow us to delve more deeply into the things we choose.
The first thing God said in the book of Genesis was, “Let there be light”. Parenting and teaching are kind of like being God, because our job is to do just that – turn on the switches and say, “Let there be light”.
As an author, I have a strong belief in the written word. The collection of sounds put together in a unique sequence, creating words, sentences and paragraphs into ideas, has an enormous power for me.
I have been an avid reader from the age of 8. I remember that my neighbor friend and I used to ride our bicycles to the library for more than 45 minutes and could only borrow 3 books for 3 weeks. Reading was my sanctuary. School was tough for me, home was not an easy place and reading allowed me to visit new worlds in my own imagination and immerse myself in them.
I have always found it fascinating that a combination of words could trigger such emotions in people. Sometimes, when I read something that was really scary, I had to remind myself that it was just a story and that if I took the same words and put them in a different combination, their meaning would change completely.
Books were my best friends for many years. As a teenager, I spent about 2-3 hours every day reading. When I read a book late at night, the only thought that encouraged me to let go of the book and go to sleep was “leave something for tomorrow”. Our high school librarian would wait for me every day with a pack of books and say, “Ronit, I think you’ll like these”. Books inspired me to be better, stronger and smarter and to keep moving forward.
I think the understanding in the early years of my life of the power of words has made me the author I am today. When I write, I search for the combination of words that would trigger certain thoughts and feelings. My ultimate goal is to write something that will open the gates of the heart and allow people to find love, connection and happiness.
Inspiration is contagious. It is the act of giving without the intention of giving that touches people at their core and helps them move forward towards being better, stronger people.
When I take stock of my life, my behavior, my attitude, beliefs and feelings, I often discover that other people have contributed greatly to who I am. When people have contributed in a bad way, I say that because of them or something that happened with them, I got stuck in a bad place in my life. In a sense, I am blaming them for being part of my life. When they have contributed in a good way, I say they have inspired me or encouraged me to reach where I am now. I am grateful and happy that they have been part of my journey.
It is not by accident that when people see a psychologist to figure out something that bothers them in life, they end up talking about their parents or siblings. These people are major contributors to who we are. Regardless of our relationship with our own families in the present, our parents, brothers and sisters influenced us mainly because of the many years we spend together, often through critical times during our life (read Divorcing Your Parents and people’s comments and you will find out how many parents have failed to inspire their children who are now adults).
My mom and dad influenced me in different ways, because they were totally different people. As a kid, I had lots of criticism towards them. When I started my personal growth experience at the age of 16 (lucky me, I was young), I changed the question from “How did they screw up my life?” to “How did each of them inspire me?” It is amazing how many great answers I have received.