“Shine a Light on What Is Right”

October was anti-bullying month, and our students worked hard to promote positive behavior and actions in our school. We have also been encouraging students to not be bystanders in situations that they may find themselves in where their peers are being bullied, but to be UPSTANDERS. An upstander is an individual who sees wrong and acts.
It truly takes an army to stand up to one bully. My hope and prayer for our teachers, staff, parents & students at LMS is that we ban together to not allow anyone to pull another child down and make them feel as if their feelings are not important and they don’t matter. There is NEVER an excuse to be hateful and embarrass someone. We are all different and that is our right! We need to stand for treating each other with the respect and dignity that we would like to be treated with. We all come from different walks of life that we need to embrace and walk together in a stand for humanity and caring for one another.
“Negativity and Your Child’s Brain: How to Help Kids Stay Positive,” by Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD really opened my eyes to this entire concept of teaching and encouraging our students to be UPSTANDERS.
Think about how many times children and teens hear the word “no” or experience negativity in their families or classrooms. This exposure to negativism is like second-hand smoke. According to neuroscientists, it produces stress chemicals in the brain. When combined with a child’s natural negative inner voice, this bundle of negativity can lead to poor mental health.
While negativity is a natural part of children’s genetic makeup, the good news is that parents, mentors, and teachers can help change the balance toward the positive. By paying attention to how we communicate and understanding how children become positive thinkers, we can improve outcomes for kids.
Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD goes on to explain how research suggests three ways to increase positive thinking in children:
1. Learn How to Have a Great Day – Encourage children to design a day with you or someone close to them that would make both people happy. At the end of the day, help them savor their positive experiences by reflecting on the things they most enjoyed.
2. Develop Their Best Selves – When children imagine themselves at their best, their confidence increases. We help children become their best selves by showing interest in them and the kind of young people they want to become. Especially at times when children feel good about themselves, help them recapture their thoughts and feelings. What feels good to them? Tell them what you noticed about them. Another aspect in developing best selves is by children becoming self-aware. Self-awareness allows children to see themselves as uniquely different from other people. They will come to know their own minds, feelings, bodies, and sensations, which leads to better emotional health and a positive outlook.
3. Foster Gratitude – When children learn to recognize and appreciate the good things in life, they develop satisfaction and a sense of optimism.
Also, Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD wisely shares core communication principles that nurture positivity:
1. Slow Down – Adults play a big role in how children perceive and respond to negativity. When communicating with children, research shows that by slowing down your speech you will produce calm feelings, particularly with children who may feel anxious or angry. Speaking slowly also deepens people’s connections, allowing them to better understand each other.
2. Think About Your Words – Say “yes” whenever possible. If you can’t say “yes,” reframe your response to invite positive conversation.
3. Lighten up your voice – Yelling and arguing produces harmful chemicals in the brain. If you feel frustrated with your child or student, take a deep breath and try to relax before engaging in conversation. Good eye contact and a warm tone in your voice send positive signals to the brain. One of the best ways to encourage our kids or students to become positive thinkers is by modeling it ourselves. So try to find the cup half full and the silver in the lining. Be on the lookout for the bright side – and any other positive phrase you can think of! Your kids will do the same.
To all you adults reading this blog and to myself as I write it, we have a lot more power in how our children/students react and treat one another than we give ourselves credit for. We need to think about the role we have and can take in promoting/displaying the positive behaviors and words that we would like to see given by our children/students.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss
Mrs. Hood – Technology Foundations

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