Guiding our children to shine their inner LIGHT by being our absolute best!

Posts tagged ‘enlightenment’

I Approve of Me!

I had an interesting experience today at school. My kids had just come back to the room from a humanity special. The kids were transitioning into the classroom and chatting by their cubbies as they put their library books away. It was a typical transition period until I heard a brief conversation…

One of my young girls turned to another young girl and said, “Are you still mad at me?” Generally, I wouldn’t pay attention to this because we all get annoyed with friends once in awhile and we talk about it and work it out. However, it was the look in her eyes when she asked that told a deeper story.

I know the history of these two girls. One has a tendency to get upset when her friends don’t do what she’d like them to do. The other is a ‘pleaser‘ and just wants to make everyone happy. The pleaser had the puppy dog eyes when she timidly asked the question and you could tell that deep inside of her she was frightened that the answer would be yes.

The girls noticed that I was paying attention to their conversation and quickly scurried off. As they brushed by me, I caught the eye of my ‘pleaser’ and said, “Hey there, do you remember what we talked about at the last Girls Rule meeting?” She earnestly replied, “Yes. You taught us that we needed to believe in ourselves and remember that we need to approve of ourselves, not others.” I smiled and said, “Yes, and what else?” She began to smile and she replied, “I don’t ever have to give my power away. I need to like myself.” My eyes and her eyes gave a high five and she bounced back to her seat.

All too often our kids are searching for approval from not only their teachers, coaches and parents but also their peers. They look to others to validate their accomplishments, their thoughts, their feelings and their outer being as well. We teach them to strive for acceptance from a very young age without even realizing it. Unfortunately, we have set them up for failure without intending it.

How did we do this?

Well, think about it for a minute… From the moment you held that baby in your arms you smiled when they did things you liked. When they lifted their heads for the first time, when they lifted themselves for the first time, when they reached for a toy or food or you! You encouraged them with your smile (and clapping and cooing) and they learned very early on that they liked the way it felt when they made you smile. They also learned that you smiled when they did something that ‘pleased’ you, so what are they doing today with their friends?

You guessed it, looking for that smile in everything they do and say. (looking for approval)

Now, wait a minute Mrs. Savini, you mean to tell me I wasn’t suppose to encourage my child? No, that’s not what I am saying at all. In fact, I LOVE that you encouraged your child, you smiled at your child, you gave them approval, but now it’s time to teach them to approve of themselves so that no-one ever takes their power away.

It’s so critically important for us to teach our children to love and approve of themselves at a young age because if we don’t, then they will always search for approval from others. And, we all know that this becomes a long, lonely and sometimes heartbreaking road.

So how do we do this?

We give them a mirror.

1) Teach them how to do mirror work. It’s easy peezy, lemon squeezy! All you have to do, is look in the mirror and say something POSITIVE to yourself. ‘I like you’, ‘You’re a good writer’, ‘You’re a good friend’, You’re Important!’ My kids do this every Wednesday morning in school and I can see the positive impact it has on them weekly.

2) When they ask your opinion of them or their work or their behavior, hold up the mirror instead of immediately giving them your opinion. Get down on their level (physically), look at them directly in their eyes and ask, “What do you think?” Give them the opportunity to reflect on their own work, behavior and being before you offer your thoughts.

3) When they do something that pleases you, tell them but remember to encourage them to look at themselves as well. You may say, “How do you feel about this?” or “I’m so proud of you! You should be proud of yourself. Are you proud of yourself?”

By constantly reminding our children to look in the mirror (physically, mentally and emotionally) we are giving them their power back and teaching them to love themselves. A child who seeks approval from within is a child who will always find the light in the darkness and who will never, no never give their power away to another individual.

Teach them to approve of themselves and you’ll give them the gift of a lifetime!

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

VickiI-Approve-of-Me-seal

That Made My Heart Smile

Every Wednesday morning, my first graders circle up on the perimeter of our colorful rug to do their ‘mirror work.’

Mirror work is a critical component of learning to love yourself and I make sure that we are all focused on this activity at least once a week. We have a mirror in a frame and we gently pass the mirror around the circle to each person in the classroom, including myself and a TA in the classroom. The goal is to look in the mirror and give the person staring back at you a genuine compliment. I tell the kids that I don’t want them to compliment the clothes that they wear or  the ‘things’ upon their bodies that were bought for them. Instead, I want them to look into their own eyes and give themselves a compliment or reassurance that they are awesome. I do this because I want them to know that they are amazing just as they are and instead of searching for approval outside of themselves, they ultimately learn to approve of themselves from within (priceless).

You go through your every day life and you just never know what sticks and whether or not you are truly making a difference. As a teacher, I often wonder how much my students actually absorb from academic curriculum and more important-my 7 Essentials curriculum.

However, yesterday I was pleasantly surprised during our mirror work time.

You see, aside from ‘mirror work’ on Wednesday mornings, my students also choose a daily affirmation each morning and I also incorporate the 7 Essentials into my daily routine with them.

Yesterday, a child came up to choose an affirmation randomly from our deck of affirmation cards (www.magnificentcreations.com) and the affirmation that was chosen for the day was, “I am unique.”

As usual, I asked the kids to tell me what they thought the word meant and here are some of their responses;

1) “It means you are perfect just the way you are.”

2) “It means you are special.”

3) “Unique means you are one of a kind.”

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Upon hearing some of those definitions my heart began to smile and then I asked them to circle up for their mirror work and more than half of the class looked in the mirror and used one of those definitions while speaking to the person in the mirror-themselves.

My heart smiled BIG!

There’s nothing more rewarding as a teacher than to see your pupils standing in their own light and radiating. It’s nice to know that my students DO listen-at least to the good stuff! 🙂

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

Raising the AHA Generation: Is that a good thing?

ProblemSolving

When you hear Aha, you may think it is a good thing because ‘Aha’ usually means that you are becoming aware of something, but when you hear what AHA stands in this article, I’m not so sure you’ll feel the same way…

As a school teacher of 15 years I have seen many changes through my career. I have seen staggering changes in education, expectations, learning styles and overall behavior of our children. In the past few weeks I have become critically aware of three important elements that I see clear across the board with our current generation that need to be addressed; (I could write another book on this but I will keep it short and sweet for now)

  • Today’s children are generally anxious. Kids always want to know what is coming next and why they are doing what they are doing in that moment. They worry about the simple things in life yet do not pay attention to the details that can help them to feel secure. They have more fears today then we had in our childhood and they look for others to solve their problems because they are afraid that they don’t have the tools to do so on their own.
  • Kids of today are learning to be helpless. Their minds are in three different places at once and they therefore struggle to focus on one thing at a time. Perhaps this is because they are so anxious that they are not in the moment. Maybe they are too focused on the past and too fearful of the future to stay in the present moment, or perhaps they have just learned that they don’t have to do things for themselves because the adults will do it to get it done on their timeline
  • Today’s children are angry. There are many times in a day when I am putting fires out because someone has been ‘rubbed the wrong way’ or is upset because they didn’t get their way. They easily bark at one another instead of talking things out and listening to the ideas of others. Our children of today go from joy to anger in a matter of minutes and then back to joy when they get their way once again. It’s truly remarkable how they’ve learned to use anger as a bargaining chip.

So there you have it, the AHA generation in a nutshell. Maybe that wasn’t the Aha you were expecting but it’s something we certainly need to look at.

Now, where did this come from?

In my opinion, our kids are learning from us! Think about your average day and the amount of stress you are under. We run from one activity to another. We speak so quickly that we often wonder if we are making sense and we never make time to just BE. We have become Human Doings instead of Human Beings because we are trying to do way too much in our lives. Doesn’t that make you feel anxious?

And think about it… if you are anxious…if your child’s teachers are anxious…if the world spins this quickly daily and everybody is running in different directions…aren’t we all creating an anxious environment for our children to grow in?

How could they not develop deep anxiety in life with these circumstances?

We put pressure on our children from the moment they enter school with academic testing (if not sooner based upon our own expectations). We constantly rush them from one activity to another because, well, hey that’s just what we do today. We never take time to sit and quiet our minds or teach our children to quiet their minds yet we expect them to relax and just be kids when they do have ‘down time’. Hmmmm, how are they to do that when even they are under so much pressure?

Let’s talk about learned helplessness– I don’t believe that we have done this on purpose, but it seems that we are always making excuses for our children’s behaviors or seeking a label to explain those behaviors instead of addressing the issues and teaching them how to problem solve. Our kids are over stimulated with electronics and under stimulated with human connection! We often ask our children to do something and then when we realize it hasn’t been done, we do it ourselves because we are in a hurry and it’s just quicker that way. But, what are we creating with this behavior?

How about those angry kids? We are so hell bent on making sure that our children don’t experience what we experienced and we are so concerned with ‘fairness’ that we have forgotten that sometimes life isn’t fair and we all need to learn how to roll with the punches and go with the flow because sometimes things just don’t work out the way you intend.

Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I don’t like to complain about something without having a solution. So, what can we do?

We need to teach our kids how to be Problem Solvers.

We need to stop taking their power away by answering for them or doing it for them and start empowering them to believe in themselves and speak their truth. The world isn’t always fair but our present circumstances do not have to determine our future and learning to overcome obstacles in life can only build strong character. Give your kids their power back and stop solving their problems for them. Instead, give them the tools that they need to be successful in life.

  • When they come to you to ask you if their picture/work is good don’t give them an answer. Instead, get down on their level and say, “What do YOU think about your picture?” Allow them to talk about their work and share their pride. This will teach them that their opinion matters and they don’t have to seek approval outside of themselves.
  • When they feel disappointed or upset about something, don’t offer them the solution or try to make it better (and believe me I know this is hard). Instead, sit with them and allow them to feel their feelings without judgment, then ask them what they think they can do about the problem. Guide them to problem solve without giving them a direct solution. This will help them to feel empowered because they had a part in the solution. And as difficult as it is-because we all just want to make it better- it’s worth it in the long run because you are giving them tools for a lifetime. What is that old saying… “Give them a fish and they eat today but teach them to fish and they eat for an eternity!” (or something like that)

I don’t want our kids to be anxious, helpless and angry. Instead, I would like to create a strong foundation for them so that they can grow up to have a healthy, productive, joyful life. Now that is a much better Aha, agree?

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

PS Please leave me your comments. I read them all and love hearing your thoughts!

www.vickisavini.com

It’s Official-Ignite the Light!

Ignite the Light RGB

Ready to Ignite the Light?

Hi everyone!

I can’t believe how fast time flies but my new book is being released in exactly ONE week!!! (But you can PRE-ORDER TODAY)

IGNITE THE LIGHT: EMPOWERING CHILDREN & ADULTS TO BE THEIR ABSOLUTE BEST

Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a child-care worker, or just a person who would like to leave this world a little more peaceful than you found it, Ignite the Light – Empowering Children and Adults to Be Their Absolute Best, will give you the tools to educate, enlighten, and empower the children in your life to see that they are perfect just as they are.  What happens in childhood doesn’t stay in childhood, which is why childhood is too precious to ignore.  This book is a practical step-by-step manual for change and message of hope that provides tools from which all children—and all families—will benefit.

Check out the book trailer that was filmed and produced by an 11 year old who shines brighter than the SUN-(how cool is that?)

CLICK HERE FOR BOOK TRAILER

I am on a mission to help children and families be their absolute best by igniting the light within.

In this book, I take the 7 Essentials that I have taught for years to both children and adults and give you a step by step manual to apply to your life and empower the children you serve (whether you are a parent or teacher, you know exactly what I mean by that).

There’s nothing cerebral about it. I keep it simple because I want you to pick up this book, devour the message and apply simple principles immediately so that you can not only be your best self, but more important–ignite the light within our kids!

Top 5 Reasons to Order Ignite the Light today:

1) You will learn 7 simple essentials that can chance your life by helping you to create strong foundations for children and repair and strengthen your own foundation.
2) Your kids deserve a strong foundation that will help them to navigate the waters of life by connecting with their inner power.
3) You deserve a chance to get off the hamster wheel and start living instead of existing.
4) There are tons of tools to help kids believe in themselves and speak their truth, and when this happens our kids excel at school, laugh at bullies and shine brighter than the sun!
5) When we believe in ourselves and speak our truth, we not only create a brighter future for our kids but we live a happier life!

How about some gifts?

Because you have followed my work and are on my super important email list, I want to give you a few free gifts for ordering my book;

1) an automatic download of a typical meditation in my classroom. This is approximately 12 minutes long and can be used with both children and adults, even if you think you have a hard time meditating! I have 1st graders who use this method and believe me it works. Let me teach you how to go to YOUR ‘Happy Place.’

2) I will include you in a free 90 minute group coaching call based on the 7 essentials in the book(Date in June to be announced.)

How do you get the free gifts?

Simply purchase the book from amazon (click the link below), then send your receipt to zohee@vickisavini.com with “I’m Ready to Ignite the Light” in the subject line and you will receive an email with your immediate download and more information on the coaching call.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,
Vicki

Are You Living or Existing?

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I was driving down the road today coming home from a visit with my mom and the peace and quiet of the open road gave me time to listen to the voice within. A thought came streaming into my consciousness that I’d like to share with you…

If you died today, would you die happy?

If you answered no to this question than it’s time for a drastic change in your life because life was not made to be existed through. Instead, we are given life to live.

My life has taken an unexpected turn in the past few months and I have often found myself just getting through my days as I have allowed myself to be on an emotional roller coaster. I would say that this is existing.

As I drove down the road I began thinking of my dad-who is no longer here on earth. I suddenly realized that life is just too damn short to stay in a place of sadness.

Why is it that we give our power away to others and allow self limiting beliefs to hold us back or keep us in relationships that are just not right for us?

Well, the number one reason is fear. Fear paralyzes us and keeps us in holding patterns in life, but love sets us free.  It’s easy to love others and to put their needs ahead of our own, but true love is learning to love yourself.

Life is too short to exist. Our days are limited here on Earth and I know that I want to truly enjoy every minute. It all begins with learning to love myself and so today I shift my thoughts to what I have instead of what I do not have. I focus on what I can do, instead of what I cannot do. I count my blessings and set my intention instead of feeling like a victim.

If you answered no to the question above, then ask yourself what small act you can do today that will shift your focus and place your own power back in your hands?

Love yourself by choosing positive thoughts over negative thoughts, speaking your truth and knowing in your heart that today’s sorrow brings tomorrows sunshine because the Universe is ALWAYS supporting us and bringing our highest good!

Lots of Light & Tons of Light,

Vicki

 

 

Time Out

Well, it’s the middle of summer and I am finding myself in the same dilemma that many parents find themselves in this time of year…

My son goes to camp daily 1/2 day but as soon as he walks in the door he says, “So, what are we going to do today?” (He’s clearly watching way too much Phineas and Ferb!)

I then feel the immediate pressure to ‘entertain’ him so that he will be happy and his summer will feel complete.

I look around the house and see the list of things to do piling up. I swiftly remember that my deadline for my book is quickly approaching and I gaze to the dining room table and see a pile of ‘stuff’ I need to go through for my business. Of course it doesn’t end there. You could add to the list that I am moving into a brand new school and my classroom is in boxes right now, I am a full-time wife and mother as well with all of the regular household responsibilities and I run workshops and seminars to empower children and adults. And my child has the audacity to ask me, “What are we going to do today?!”

dontforget

Anyone would get irritable and snap a few times with all of this going on. It’s easy to see why I have been snapping at him in the past week but that’s honestly unacceptable to me because I know better than anyone that childhood is just too precious to ignore–considering that I am writing a book that focuses on this!

How many hats do we wear as women?

All too many, but my mommy hat is very important to me. In fact, it’s my number one priority and if I feel like I am being pulled in every direction, then I’m not going to be the best mom I can be.

That’s why it’s critically important to carve out time for you!

When I think about why I have been irritable it’s not only because I have so much on my plate, it’s also because I’m not sure what to tackle first because I’m not taking time to relax, rejuvenate and respond to my own needs.

This is when you know it’s time to take a ‘time out’ for yourself and evaluate what’s truly important to you.

The business is important because I’m empowering children and adults and making a difference in the world so I’ll keep that hat but designate specific time for it. The classroom is important but not necessarily most important right now since we have 46 days left of summer vacation. The book is critically important because my deadline is fast approaching-but hey, you can’t rush a good thing, right?

Most important to me is my child. So in order to be my best for him, I need to relax, rejuvenate and respond to my needs. I guess that means a good glass of vino with some friends and perhaps even a pedicure soon!

Time out doesn’t have to be a negative statement. Instead I’m choosing to make it a positive statement and I hope you will too!

Ironically, this morning was ‘hat day’ at my son’s camp. He couldn’t decide which hat to wear so he decided to wear as many as possible. He was struggling and getting frustrated trying to get them all to fit on top of his head without falling. He threw them on the ground a few times and then I came to the rescue. We took our time and figured out which to put on his head first, next and last. It worked perfectly because we were stacking them mindfully. I didn’t think there was any significance to that experience this morning but now I do-

Perhaps that was the Universe’s way of reminding me to stack my hats according to priority and best fit…

We all have tons of hats that pile up on our heads but if we are constantly trying to pick them up we are not wearing them well-and really, if you can’t wear a hat well…what’s the sense in wearing it at all?

Take a time out for YOU!

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

PS I almost forgot…Take the time to find your true reflection when the kids go back to school with me at the annual Woman’s Worth Retreat in Silver Bay, NY. Check it out by clicking HERE.

You’re Worth it!!

 

 

The Oreo Cookie Theory

oreo

The end of the school year is quickly approaching and many believe that the kids are ‘acting up’ because they are done with school and ready for summer vacation. I have a different perspective on this…

As soon as June 1st hits (sometimes earlier) the kids suddenly appear to have forgotten the rules and have no motivation to work. They also seem to be fighting with one another more than ever and disputing the tiniest issues that didn’t seem to matter just a few weeks ago.

Ten years ago I saw this happening in my classroom to my sweet, loving, well trained 2nd graders and I was baffled because this group of kids was truly like a family. They were loving to one another and worked well cooperatively so when this ‘change’ occurred–literally overnight–I had no idea what was happening.

I reinstated the rules, tried to make learning as fun as I possibly could and focused on projects that would hold their attention, yet they were still constantly arguing with one another. Then The Oreo Cookie Theory came to be…

The kids just came in from recess and there were several requests for a ‘Community Meeting‘.

*A Community Meeting is something that we hold in my classroom when we have a problem or concern that we need to solve as a group.

We went to the ‘Meeting Place Rug’ and sat in a circle. They were all familiar with the rules; if you didn’t see it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears you were not to judge, but instead listen mindfully. One child raised their hand to use an I Statement regarding their frustration. Then another and yet another. I sat back and wondered what was going on with these kids. They were literally like a family. We were all so close and we always worked out our differences together but lately it was a nightmare after every recess.

As I listened to the kids venting their feelings I myself was feeling helpless because I wanted them to enjoy our last few weeks together instead of nitpicking at one another. I interrupted the conversation and explained that perhaps we were all just ready for a break because it was a long year and we were excited for the summer. The kids kind of shook their heads and then there was an uncomfortable silence in the room.

Oh I got it then. The kids heard me say the words, “Let’s enjoy our last few weeks together instead of fighting” and the flood gates opened.

Several of the kids had tears in their eyes, as did I, as we all realized we were bracing ourselves for our end. Yes, we were excited about Summer, but we were also sad to leave one another.

At the time I worked in a school that was a primary center. We hosted grades K-2 and then the kids went to two separate schools across town from one another for grades 3-5 depending on where they lived.

The kids began to speak about their sadness of leaving and how scary it was that things were going to change. I did my best to reassure them that they would love 3rd grade and would all see each other again in 6th grade, but then one child raised her hand and the ‘Oreo Cookie Theory’ was born.

She looked right at me with tears in her eyes and spoke with a soft and broken voice. She said, “Well, Ms. Scalzo (that was my name back then) it’s sad that we are leaving and going to 3rd grade but you don’t really know why.” Of course I inquired and she responded, “It’s kind of like we are an Oreo Cookie. We are each the chocolate cookie ends. One cookie goes one way and the other cookie goes the other way.” I literally began to hold my breath to hold back the tears and then she said, “The worst part is that you are the fluffy stuff in the middle and we’re never gonna see you again.”

At that point we were all crying and then, of course, hugging.

I am proud to say that those 2nd graders are graduating from High School this year and I can’t wait to attend their graduation. I have thought of them often as the years have past and I especially think of them every June when my kids show the same signs of separation anxiety.

If you are a teacher or a parent and you’ve noticed a change in your child in the past few weeks that may be a bit frustrating please consider this ‘Oreo Theory’ and give them a break.

Instead of getting angry or annoyed with their behavior, give them lots of extra love because now you know that although they are excited about a new beginning and sunshine, they are also sad about an ending.

Be gentle. Be understanding. Be loving.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki