Every Child is a Superhero Waiting to Save the World... how to inspire their greatness.
The 7 Essentials: #7 - A Culture of Heroism
Have you ever noticed that children don't need to be told what a superhero is? Little boys especially seem to be born with an understanding there are good guys and bad guys, and they are one of the good guys.
The seventh building block in the RHOPE Strategy is a culture of heroism. This answers the question, “Am I good enough?” This sounds similar to the 6th building block but they are actually quite different. “Do I have what it takes?” is based on what you do. “Am I good enough?” is based on who you are.
I was fortunate enough to have birthed one of the most strong-willed children that has ever graced the planet. In fact, I left teaching for a while to get a degree in child psychology to figure out how to raise that little fireball. The reality, is that my precious, strong-willed, little tyrant, had an angel locked inside of her that wanted to come out, but didn't know how. Only when I began raising her to be a superhero, instead of constantly reacting to her actions, did her strong-willed deviant behavior morph into her beautiful strength. You see, the very defiance that caused her to put her hands on her hips and refuse to budge was the same strength that she learned to use to move mountains.
"Often a child's greatest weakness is actually their greatest strength in disguise."
Personality traits are like a two-sided coin with one side of the trait being positive and the other side being negative. The determining factor of which side of the trait comes out is often based on which side wins your attention. If you take the position that your students are superheroes because of who they are, and focus on training the traits within them then what they do and what they accomplish becomes an overflow of who they are.
I know this probably seems like a fine line, but the ramifications are huge. One builds behavior from the premise of identity, "I do because of who I am" (I am a leader). The other determines identity based on behavior, "I am because of what I do" (I'm a bad kid). They are two very different wells of identity and self-worth. One overflows from deep within the developing character of a child, the other is reactionary behavior to the circumstances of life.
Children who are taught their worth based on who they are, rather than on what they do, develop an internal compass that is not easily compromised. Peer pressure has little ability to persuade them to participate in activities that do not align with their compass of truth.
Your Action Item
Turn your classroom into a Superhero Institute (acutally one of the Championeers! units does this).
You can help your students develop intrinsic worth by expressing unconditional approval that is not earned or deserved or based on performance. One way to do this is with your words. For example, instead of saying “You messed up again; you never do anything right!” you would say, “This is inconsistent with who you are. Next time stop and think it through. You’ll get the hang of it.”
The goal is to always confirm who your students are, not what they aren't.
Together, we can do this!
There are 7 Essential Elements required for children to be emotionally safe. When these are satisfied, your children are much less likely to succom to peer pressure because they are empowered with tools to meet their emotional needs. We call these 7 Elements The RHOPE Strategy; Rhineharts Heirarchy of Peer Empowerment. (c) 2015 Championeers.