Several years back, precisely 2008, my friends and I were on a trip to the UK. We actually went for a workshop on “Every Child Matters” at the Thames Valley University, Reading. Over the weekend of the training, we decided to go see a common friend in Birmingham. We passed two nights at our friend’s place while spending the entire days in between at the malls- eyes on the best deals. We shopped till we dropped- physically and financially.
With a meager amount just about sufficient for our travel back, we boarded a coach. One of my friends and I sat on the back roll and chatted our way all through while the other slept the entire stretch. We chatted so much that the only realization we had was when the coach got to the final station. Getting our bags and in an unfamiliar terrain, we asked for the exit to the train station to connect us to our destination.
“Train to Reading? You are two cities away! You should have dropped off before getting to the final stop.” Oh dear! In my mind, the trip was like boarding a bus from Lagos to Benin and going to Benin- you only have to alight at the last stop…
It was getting pretty late in the evening. There were no coaches heading out. Our most viable option was to hire a cab. Between us, were able to raise about a hundred pounds…thanks to my unannounced fifty pounds! Sadly, the least cost for hiring a cab was about a hundred and twenty pounds.
I have an optimistic view of solving problems. In fact, when I am in the midst of a challenge, I get curious. Not panicky. The curiosity helps me to see my challenge in the light of an adventure- rather than an ordeal.
Attitude is everything. It is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure. As parents, it’s our call to infuse a can-do, will-try, never give up attitude in our children. We need to consciously enable positive thinking and create an environment that nurtures children’s beliefs in their abilities. Having that confidence enables them to take risks that will help them reach their potential.
“If anything is humanly possible, it is up to me to achieve it” This has been the latest mantra with my daughter this week- especially as school called to say she needed to up her game and infuse more effort. This was like a wakeup call. We had always called her “erelabi” (we gave birth to play!). Subconsciously, this seemed to have become her self-talk as her teacher confirmed she was fierce at play! She needed to see her infuse the same energy, enthusiasm and excitement she deployed on the playground in the classroom!
I saw the need to guide her to change her internal dialogue- from erelabi so that the self-talk doesn’t become a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. Indeed, whatever we focus on, grows more.
“It’s ok not to know. It’s ok to struggle. What isn’t ok is to give up as a result of those. Even when you seem lost, courageously speak out. You matter, you are a valid member of the class, you have the potential to be great and you need to put in the work to be just that” –these were some of the facts I had to reinforce in her.
When we model and teach our children that they can handle life’s challenges, when they are confronted with an obstacle, rather than give up, they will be able to tell themselves that they can keep trying until they find the appropriate solution.
Focus on your children’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. This helps them to develop a can-do attitude to life and embrace their uniqueness. As they begin to do this, they see themselves as capable and take chances to develop their competency.
My friends and I eventually got a cab man that was willing to take us back to Reading within our budget. This guy showed us the rates. Yet, he would do it at seventy pounds for us. Ah ha…so this is God’s intervention… like it is said, if He put you there, He’ll pull you through…
We got on the cab, ready for the two hour plus journey. Totally exhausted, I dosed off. My friend gave me a silent jack with her elbow. Wake up! Instead of you to be praying, or at least, silently sleep, you are sleeping and even snoring! In an unfamiliar terrain! You want this guy to abduct us?? Perhaps sensing the insecurity, our chauffer tried to make us comfortable: see, he began to say, there are cameras everywhere, I can’t do anything and go scot free. I know I charged you ridiculously- that’s just how I am and my co drivers detest that about me. Relax, you are in safe hands….
True happiness is not about the things we have- it’s more about the thoughts we have. A positive attitude all starts with having positive thoughts… be the model and expect such from your children too.