We Are All Different and That’s Awesome!
What makes your kids unique? What are you doing to help your kids embrace their gifts and become who they are authentically? As a parent, caregiver, or educator, you have an opportunity…perhaps an obligation…to help your kids discover, explore, understand, accept, celebrate and BE who they are meant to be. In this Tedx Talk, 10-year old Cole Blakeway reminds us that we are all different and that’s AWESOME.
We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are. –Mr. Rogers
“You’re doing it wrong.” (the story behind the nativity scene photo)
I’ve always been very creative and growing up channeled my creativity into art and music. At home, I was encouraged to express my creativity in whatever way it showed up. At school, that was not the case. In 3rd grade we had to make a Christmas diorama. All students, except me, cut out shapes and glued them, standing up, inside their diorama boxes. I imagined and created the nativity scene in 3-D, with my figures outside as well as inside the box (see image). My teacher told me I hadn’t followed instructions and “encouraged” me to try again. Committed to my vision for this project, I stayed the course, but I felt embarrassed and worried as a result of her remarks.
For Christmas that year, I gave my nativity scene to my grandma who set it up every Christmas until she passed away. After she passed, I found it when we cleaned out her house; I was 37 years old. I now set it up every Christmas as a reminder of the importance of encouraging our kids to express themselves authentically and celebrating their gifts (thanks, Grandma!). It’s also a reminder of how it felt to be told that I was doing my assignment “wrong.”
A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me where I got my nativity scene because she had seen something similar in a shop in Paris. 😊
What is identity?
Our identity is a unique combination of our personality, appearance, beliefs, values, thinking, interests, talents, and background and upbringing. In addition to these things that shape who we are, you and others in your kid’s life, also contribute to how they identify with and express their identity.
Are you helping your kids be who they are or who you want them to be?
When you step back and observe your child, what do you notice about who they are? How would you describe their identity? How would they describe who they are?
Being honest with yourself, how do you feel about who your kiddo is becoming and how they express themselves? Are you nurturing and helping them shape who they are or who you (or society) wants or expects them to be?
This holiday season – and always – be your kid’s GIFT GUIDE!
Why is it important to help your kids discover and embrace their gifts?
Why is it important to help our kids discover, explore, understand, accept, celebrate and BE who they are authentically? Studies have linked authenticity with increased levels of happiness, personal growth, improved self-esteem, and better relationships. And our identity guides the choices we make.
As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has- or ever will have- something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression. –Mr. Rogers
7 Ways to Help Your Child Discover Who They Are Authentically
- Expose them to a variety to activities to help them discover and explore what they love and excel at and to develop relationships with others who share their interests.
- Encourage your kids to develop their interests and talents, even if they aren’t the talents you hoped for. So many parents have a vision of what they want their kids to do and be; academically, athletically, career. Letting go of your dream and allowing them to develop and nurture their own is key to helping them become who they are meant to be.
- Observe your kids to notice how they express themselves in play, in relationship with others and when they are alone.
- Be attentive to your child when they talk to you and respond with love and acceptance. Show them they are important to you and that you are interested in what they have to say. One of the best gifts you can give your kids is your presence.
- Be aware of your biases and avoid judgements and labels. For example, are there toys you feel are for girls, like Barbie Dolls, and boys shouldn’t play with them? How do you feel about pink hair?
- Resist the temptation to encourage your kids to be what makes you or others feel comfortable because of social constructs. There is no right or wrong way to be. Instead encourage and support them to be the best version of their unique self.
- Teach your kids that we have similarities and differences. There is no one like them; don’t compare them to others. Help them be comfortable and confident with who they are authentically.
The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self. –Mr. Rogers
Feel Well, Be Well, Do Well and Be You!