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How to teach children what to do when hope feels lost

We all have sad days. It's part of being human. We get discouraged, frustrated, hurt and even angry. It's normal to have all these feelings and emotions. What's important is what you do when those feelings come.

Teaching children how to deal with their emotions is paramount to emotional safety. The first premise we must establish is that we, as people, have LOTS OF FEELINGS. You gotta love that about us. If feelings were indicated by colors some would be soft pastels and others would be florescent neon. Each personality is amazing, but very different.

With such an array of colorful emotions ready to shine (or lash out) at a moment’s notice we need to understand them, their root, and more importantly that we are in control of them. For example, anger is not a primary emotion, it is a reaction to deeper feelings such as frustration, rejection, or fear. Once you know that, as an educator, you can change your response to a child who is lashing out to get to the root of that rage, rather than react to it.

Championeers! teaches some pretty grown-up concepts to children by using pirates to take on a concrete representation of elusive abstracts such as hope, and hopelessness. Children don't really understand what those are but they know how it feels and they know good guys from bad guys, and bad guys steal things from you. We compare the concept of hopelessness to when a pirate plunders our treasures.

With this same comparison of concretes with abstracts happy, healthy schools introduce a powerful tool to fight back when pirates plunder our special things. We use the "Yeah-but..." tool that acknowledges the pain of the lie, or the hurt, or the frustration, then turns it around to be the catalyst of greater gain and emotional strength. It's crazy cool how our amazing brain can interrupt a cycle of defeat if just given the instructions to do so.

Once your students learn this tool in Championeers! you'll find it to be a tremendous tool for reminding students how to be powerful people who know what to do with hurt and angry feelings.

For Happy, Healthy Schools!


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