August 2, 2014

The Super Power of an Amused Mind – Part One

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”— Plato

Most parents I have spoken to have felt their child either is a genius or possesses genius-like qualities. Some parents thought it,  but were afraid to use the word “genius,” not wanting to come off as egotistical or academically inaccurate, since IQ testing is required to officially be labeled “genius.” Instead they picked other, less pedantic descriptive words such as:  gifted, bright, creative and  intellectually advanced.

There is nothing egotistical in thinking their child has genius-like qualities or is a genius.

They are right!

Frankly, I have never met a child who did not have one or more of the 24 genius traits. If these were not obviously present and actively being demonstrated, then each trait simply needed cultivation and an expressive outlet. For those parents with preschool aged children, the genius traits are similar, but harder to nail down.

Providing your child with an outlet for their genius starts with your behavior towards and around the child.

There have been plenty of studies and texts published in the last 70 years on the subject of thought; far more than I can quote.  A wide sampling across the catagories of business, science, religion and self-help would include: The Secret, Dianetics – the Modern Science of Mental Health, Good to Great , The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Cognitive-Behavior therapy.

To summarize the basic idea: Thought colors one’s view of the world. If you submerse yourself in negative thought, your world becomes negative; that rubs off on others around you. 

The same goes for raising your child.

If you assume your child is disobedient – he will be.

If you assume you have a dishonest or lazy child – she will be.

No matter how hard you try not to, you are going to project your negative assumptions onto your child and voila! that is the only behavior you tend to see.

The more attention you give that behavior, the more the child will act it out.

It is best not to have the negative assumption at all.

Instead, concentrate on, bring attention to and encourage all the positive behavior a child puts forth, in order to give the child an outlet and a chance to show you his or her true genius.

With my students I have learned the hard way to separate the two and say: “You are smart (kind, friendly etc.)  but that behavior is unacceptable.” Instead of “You are being bad or ____(fill in the blank with a negative saying) .”  This small, but vital differentiation makes a big difference in results.

In your mind and speech, separate the true nature of the child from the mistakes and bad behavior.

Telling them they are bad keeps them in a negative thought and behavior loop.

Separating their behavior from their true nature gives them a chance to change their behavior and reflect their genius.

Article written and published in February 2013 by teacher and author Dana Houston Jackson – www.youthmuse.com

 

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