When I first met 8-year-old Austin, he was hiding under the table in the waiting room. There he sat with his freckles; red, curly hair; arms locked around his knees; and eyes glued to the ground. As his parents tried to coax him out from under the table, I could tell this was a scared little guy. I saw his blue eyes glance up as I told him he wouldn’t have to say a word if he didn’t want to. His parents sighed with relief as Austin scooted out from under the table and followed us back to my office. Read more
While doing research for my book on over 30 “eminent achievers,” the importance of being distinctive in thought, spirit and personality became apparent when identifying the “common factor” in their accomplishments.
Paul McCartney, former Beatle and contributor, quoted Hamlet when discussing what motivated him to forge ahead to personal stardom— “To thine own self be true.” This famous quotation may seem to be over-used and self-indulging for an adult, but for a child it exemplifies an astute sense of confidence that most kids who tend to be “group pleasers” don’t possess at a young age. Vint Cerf, co-creator of the Internet; Nobel Prize recipient, Mario Molina (he discovered the hole in the Ozone layer of our earth); Mike Mullane, NASA astronaut for four space shuttle missions; were all independent thinkers who overcame obstacles as children to change their world significantly. When describing Tori McClure, the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a rowboat, her husband said she was a pre-focused child. Read more
Ever get the impression your toddler thinks he’s just as big and powerful as you?
Don’t worry; it’s not your imagination gone haywire. As far as he’s concerned, he’s the master of his own domain— until a few short years later when he comes face to face with the scrutiny, evaluation and fault-finding from others. Unless you teach him how to see mistakes, defeats and failures in a different light, your self-confident little dynamo will grow up feeling like he’s being judged by everyone, strangers included. And after a few years of living under an electron microscope, imaginary or real, he’ll start to assess his own performance, measure his self-worth and shape future choices through others’ eyes, not his own. Once that happens, every blunder turns into a weapon that sabotages his self-esteem rather than a tool to help him make better decisions in the future. Read more
My 7-year-old daughter Briana peeked over the midwife’s shoulder as my son’s head emerged from the birth canal. “Oh!!” she exclaimed, hands flying to her face. “Oh! It’s so…. cute.” Then she disappeared from view, returning only moments after her baby brother was born. Marveling over how purple he looked, she stroked his vernix-coated hair and spontaneously sang “Happy Birthday.”
When my husband Adam and I planned for Adrian’s birth, it never occurred to us that Briana should not be present, since we viewed his birth as a family event. We also viewed the birth as an important educational event. Most people grow up to fear birth; we wanted our daughter to learn that birth is a normal part of life. Read more