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

Posts tagged ‘parenting’

The Very Best YOU!

Why is it that we are so damn hard on ourselves?

Why do we wait until we are literally at our breaking point or something goes wrong with our health to heal ourselves?

Yesterday I woke up and was feeling somewhat blue and overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure what was going on but I knew how I felt. Considering that I teach people the importance of feeling your feelings, I took some time to just sit and feel my emotions. As I sat, this thought came to me, ‘What have you done for YOU lately?

Let’s face it, we spend a great deal of our time taking care of others; we take care of our children, our spouses, our pets, our parents or extended family, and sometimes even our co-workers (or in my case, my students). But WHEN do we stop to re-fuel our own tanks?!

I immediately got my butt off the couch and called a spa in the area. I decided that I was going for a facial!

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It took me a while to settle in and relax but this facial included a hand, foot and shoulder massage so I had some help on my journey to relaxation!

As I laid there allowing myself to be pampered, I began to feel that I was re-fueling my own tank. Hmmm, imagine that, taking an hour for yourself to just be pampered? I have to say it was the best decision I made.

Now, I’m not saying that you should ‘check out’ whenever you feel blue or overwhelmed, but what I am saying is that we need to feel our feelings and honor ourselves more often.

Maybe a facial won’t do it for you. Perhaps a walk in nature, some meditation, a trip to the bookstore or a night listening to music would re-fuel your tank.

It doesn’t really matter what you do to re-fuel yourself. Instead, what matters is that you take the time to do so.

Do you know what the best part of my day was yesterday?

It was when I came home and I was in a much better place for my son…

We somehow began talking about soccer and he said that he feels proud of himself because he scores goals.

I smiled and then he continued with, “Mom, do you know why I score goals?”

I responded, “Because you’re good?”

He smiled and said, “Nope! It’s because I believe in myself. You taught me that Mom. Thanks!”

Take time for you so that you can be YOUR best, because the truth is, we are teaching our children how to take care of themselves with our every move.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

The Greater Message in ‘Frozen’

About 2-3 times a year I like to set up a week-end play date for my 1st graders. I find that it helps to build community and teaches them that Mrs. Savini is a real person who doesn’t live at school!

I asked the kids what they wanted to do and they wanted to see a movie, so we looked at the upcoming listings and chose ‘Frozen’ as our week-end play date.

Today, my son and I met my students and their families for a viewing of Frozen at the local theater.

I didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t take time to read about the movie before hand. I just went with Frozen because that’s what my kids chose. I must say I was pleasantly surprised and I honestly love the way the Universe works because the message in this movie reflects my daily teachings…

Frozen is a beautiful movie about two sisters learning some tough lessons in life. In the very beginning of the movie, Elsa, the older sister is chanting, “Conceal, don’t reveal” because she has been taught to do this to hide her magical powers-her true self. Of course, this was breaking my heart to listen to because I teach children and adults the exact opposite; believe in yourself and speak your truth!

As the movie progressed, Elsa stopped holding back and just let it all out. I have always taught my son to look for the deeper meaning or special message in a movie (especially Disney movies). About this time in the movie, my 8 year old son turned to me and said, “Mom, I know the hidden message in this story. It’s be true to yourself no matter what!”

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My eyes filled with tears, I smiled and replied, “That’s a really great message isn’t it?” He nodded yes and hugged my arm.

Somewhere inside of me I knew that wasn’t the only message. I felt that there was more to be revealed and I was right. By the end of the movie the deeper message was revealed; Fear will destroy you and love conquers all.

This movie couldn’t have been more in line with my teachings and beliefs. I honestly didn’t plan this, but I am so thankful to the Universe for orchestrating this magical week-end play date.

You see, every day I strive to teach children and adults to allow love to guide them instead of fear and this movie just gave me another teaching tool!

I highly recommend seeing this movie with your children. There were several beautiful messages throughout the movie, but most important is that ‘Love conquers all’.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

 

 

Thankful for the Little Things

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Lately I’ve been in a ‘cleaning up and clearing out’ kind of mood. I find myself looking around the house and finding small areas of clutter and pouncing on that clutter as soon as I notice it. Today, my son and I began cleaning and clearing out the family room. We have bins of toys and cabinets that haven’t been opened in a while so we thought it would be a good idea to dive in together.

Cleaning up and clearing out is not a task my son (or I) truly like, but it turned into something quite magical…

As we opened a cabinet that hadn’t been touched in a while, I found myself reminiscing through his earlier childhood.  There were several abc activities and early reader books. I put those in a pile and thought, ‘Nice, I can put those in my classroom,’ because I teach 1st grade. We sifted through Pokemon cards and small trinket toys and smiled to one another as we laughed about the different phases he’s gone through.

When all was cleaned and cleared we sat back and chatted for a bit. I glanced around the room once again and noticed all of the Lego’s in several corners of the family room. My immediate thought was to start cleaning and clearing once more but I held back and took a breath because my son is 8 and I’d like him to remain my little man for a bit longer.

He noticed the look in my eyes and said, “Oh no Mom, don’t get any ideas. We’re done for today.” I smiled and responded, “You bet Bud. I like having your Lego’s around.” He raised an eyebrow and said, “Mom, chill out with the Lego’s. Those aren’t going anywhere. I like having them in here!”

I gave him a big hug and told him not to worry because quite frankly, I like it too. Somewhere in those moments I realized that some day, in the not so distant future, I would no longer have Lego’s or toys all over the family room and that made me pause for  a moment.

I am thankful for the simple moments. I am thankful for the smiles we share, the scattered rubber bands from the Rainbow Loom, the Skylanders and the Lego’s on the floor. I am thankful for this beautiful time we call childhood.

As Thanksgiving approaches, many people begin to focus on what they are grateful for. I am grateful for childhood. What are you grateful for?

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

 

Teach Them to See Their Own Light

It breaks my heart when I see a child getting a bad wrap because of rambunctious behavior. When a child has this kind of energy there is generally something going on deep inside of them that stems from a belief that they are not good enough.

Tomorrow we begin our camp for boys, “Boy’s Rock.” We have already done our girl camps this year (Girls Rule) and this is our last camp of the season. The boys camp is always different from the girls camp. We teach the same 7 Essentials (TM) in all of our groups but in different ways.

The girls generally need to remember their inner goddess. They need to talk, journal, craft, dance and express their feelings. The boys-on the other hand- don’t like to talk much about their feelings, generally prefer someone else writing for them and want to build and construct with their hands.

Let’s face it boys and girls are different, but one thing is the same-

They all need to know that they are perfect just the way they are!

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Lately, my son has had some of that rambunctious energy. He has been sarcastic (he gets that from me unfortunately), inappropriate at times and over emotional. Summer generally brings this out in kids because they are away from their regular routine and even though they think they want total freedom, they actually crave and desperately need structure.

For the past few days I have been watching him and trying my best to guide him to make choices based on how it feels in his heart but he appears to be oblivious. Tonight, while putting him to bed we had a talk and what came out of that talk was truth.

His main concern is that when he says things with the intent of being funny, others don’t find him to be funny. He was teary eyed and visibly upset by this because he’s feeling invisible. We talked about it a bit and then I told him that when he is just being himself and he says something that he thinks is funny, it generally is funny. But when he tries to say something funny to get attention that’s when everyone looks at him like he has two heads and you can hear the crickets. I further explained that it was my greatest hope that he would feel comfortable in his own skin-so that when he thinks something is funny he will laugh whether others find it funny or not.

He looked at me and said, “I just have to be myself then, right?” Of course I replied with a resounding YES. Yet in my heart I’m not quite sure he totally gets it yet.

Our children are constantly comparing themselves to others and looking for approval outside of themselves. We have taught them this in our society without even thinking about it. We ask them to ‘measure up’ in school, we push them in athletics to be only the best and we make too many choices for them instead of with them.

I know for certain that the first thing we will focus on tomorrow in camp is loving yourself because if you can’t love yourself, who can you love…really?

My goal this week for this boys camp is to empower them to look in the mirror (figurative and real) and see the best qualities of themselves. Not qualities in others that they wish they had but instead their very best. My intent is for each of those campers to love themselves and-

See the Light Within!

I will certainly keep you ‘posted!’

Lots of Love & 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?!”

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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

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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

 

Not in Front of the Children

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This is a follow up from yesterday’s post-

I normally do not write back to back blogs, but if you read my last post you learned that I have a major concern with how much information our children are being exposed to in today’s society.

The moment my 1st graders began talking about the incident in Boston I felt a chill run up my spine because I just firmly believe that childhood is a precious time period that is dwindling before our very eyes.

I began surveying colleagues and other parents in the building to see how many of them had talked to their young children about the event or allowed them to watch the news. I was astounded when I heard that many of them not only talked to them but also allowed the kids to watch the news or were watching the news while the children were in the room or had an ear shot.

This effected me deeply, and I wasn’t clear why. Today as I was driving to school that clarity came to me…

On January 3, 1983, I was laying in my bed, in my red feetie pajama’s having a hard time falling asleep. As I laid there tossing and turning the phone rang in the dead of the night. I heard my mom answer the phone, gasp, and then respond, “No, no, that can’t be right. How can that be?” I sat up in my bed to get a better listen and then I heard my mom crying and my dad trying to comfort her. My eldest sister came in and was totally devastated.

I walked out of my bedroom and asked what was going on as my family began to come together. I was told to go back to bed, but I couldn’t because I was so concerned. My sister then told me that my cousin died and we would talk about it in the morning.

My cousin was a 27 year old attorney who was senselessly killed in the office of the firm where he worked. My family didn’t really talk directly to me about it in the morning-as promised, instead I heard the news and the conversations among family and friends.

My mom had pulled her back and was ‘laid up’ in bed so I would go and lay with her while she watched the news. At the age of 10 I was still innocent, vulnerable and totally energetically sensitive (as most children are).

As the news reporters would announce new findings and talk about how my cousin was blind folded, tied to his chair and shot in the head several times, I felt chills run down my spine and got an immediate visual which made me cringe at the thought of this wonderful man who I adored exiting life in this terrible way.

My mom would tell me to leave the room as they revealed details, but I still heard the news in the background.

Perhaps that’s why I never watch the news.

I find the news to be negative and down right depressing. My son is not exposed to the news or talk of the negative-fear based society we live in. I choose not to expose him to that because I am trying to preserve his childhood. Quite frankly, I think there’s plenty of time for him to hear about the darkness in the world.

I really don’t believe that parents think about what this negative news can do to a child.

We complain about violent video games and inappropriate cartoons because it fills their minds with negative thoughts and dark behaviors, yet we allow them to watch or listen to the news? That doesn’t make sense.

Mindfulness is the key to a peaceful society. We can start in our homes by being mindful of what our children are hearing and seeing.

If you really need to watch or listen to the news (especially when there is a tragic event-and you know we have several), please consider doing that when the children are not in the room.

If we truly want a more peaceful society, it needs to start at home. Immerse your children in love and happy thoughts as long as you can because childhood is our foundation and it’s simply too precious to ignore.

From a child who was exposed to news that forever changed her life, please hear my plea and become more mindful of what’s happening in front of the children.

Children are energetically sensitive. That means they pick up on energy around them before they hear or see. Stop and think about that for a moment and change the energy you allow your children to step into.

Let’s face it, the news doesn’t normally leave you with an uplifting or positive feeling. Our kids are already dealing with tons of pressure and negativity, do we really need to expose them to more?

Ask yourself if this is beneficial to the children in any way-does it uplift them? If not, consider waiting until the children are not in front of you to immerse yourself in the news if you so choose to expose yourself to that negativity.

It could make a HUGE difference in our society…

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

PS Try NOT tuning in for a week and see how you FEEL. You just might feel more uplifted yourself!

Too Much Information?

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Tragically we have endured yet another senseless act of violence in our nation. Tonight I send lots of Love and tons of Light to the Boston area and then I pose this question…

Are we giving our children too much information?

Every morning my precious 1st graders enter the room with wonder and excitement in their eyes. I purposefully stand in the doorway or greet them in the hall with a smile as they unpack for their day. I do this because I want to warmly welcome them to a new school day and to be sure that I am starting the morning out positively for them.

The children walk into the room, greet their friends and immediately begin ‘morning work.’ Soon after the school announcements come on and then helpers begin setting up our morning meeting.

Morning meeting is a beautiful time because the kids show what they know by reviewing the calendar, discussing the weather and counting how many days we’ve been in school. We also sing songs and choose our morning affirmation to set our day in motion.  

If the kids have something on their minds, this is a good time for them to share their thoughts and feelings.  This morning after our morning routine and choosing the affirmation, “I am infinite,” one of my students raised his hand and said, “Mrs. Savini, did you hear about the bombs that were dropped on Boston?

I must admit that I was caught off guard because I didn’t expect to hear that this morning. I too have a 1st grader and decided that there would be no talk of the incident or watching of the news while he was awake, so I was stunned when I heard this question and then saw all of the children engaging in discussion.

I turned to the child and said, “Well, hunnie, there actually weren’t bombs dropped from the sky but yes there was an incident in Boston yesterday involving 2 explosions.”  

It was at that point that I asked the children how many of them heard about the ‘bombs’ and how they exactly learned of this news. I was shocked to see that most children raised their hands to say they in fact DID heard of the ‘bombs.’  Some heard of this from parents and others watched the news.

I took a deep breath and told the kids that I didn’t think it was something we should discuss at school because we don’t have all of the facts. If they had questions, they should talk to their parents.

I personally don’t watch the news because I find it very negative and depressing.

In that moment I wondered, ‘Are we giving our children too much information?

About 30 minutes later my kids were off to specials and I had some time to talk with a colleague and a parent in the building. I asked the parent if their child knew of the event in Boston and they said yes. They discussed it with their child because they didn’t know what they would hear at school.

Ahhhh, yes, now that makes more sense. At first I wondered why parents would allow their children to know of this event, but this made sense. Most parents were talking to their children about it because they would rather they heard about it from them instead of children, but I still had a concern…

In December our nation was shaken with the horrific event in Newtown, CT and children were given information at that point as well. Today when my children were talking of this I saw two reactions; 1) worry-fear-anxiety, 2) disconnect. Yep, that’s what I said…disconnect.  I wondered in that instance if we as adults knew the long term impact of ‘giving too much information’ to young impressionable children.

You see, I believe we live in a society where we are disconnected from one another more than we are connected and that is dangerous…that is why we have events like Newtown, CT listed in our history books…because someone was disconnected.

I started to feel that maybe giving our children too much information and exposing them to the news was somehow desensitizing them. It’s desensitizing us to some degree because we hear so much of it, why wouldn’t it do the same for our children who really have little understanding about life and death at this early and tender age?

I’m certainly not judging anyone for their decisions with their children, but I’m wondering if giving them too much information and exposing them to the very negative news that flashes across our screens (phones, computers, TV’s etc) daily is really the best option for our children.

Is it possible to just let children be children and IF they come to us with questions regarding a tragedy, THEN we answer their questions–while still protecting their innocence–as best as we can?

I believe that young children are on a need to know basis and that they do not need to know about senseless violence in our world. I strongly believe that exposing our children to this kind of event, even though we mean well, can cause more issues in the future such as anxiety, or worse, desensitization.

I didn’t tell my son about this event and he didn’t come home and ask me about it either. If he had, I would have told him that sometimes awful things happen and it’s terrible to see this happen or experience this but we should notice all of the love that rises to the top of the situation.

We should take the time to see how everyone pulled together and how everyday people turned into heroes at a very sad time.

I’m curious to hear what YOU think…Too much information

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

Release Your Pain & Be The Light

Why can you not become enlightened? It is because of the obstacles in your mind and because the root of your pain is deep.” ~Hui Neng

As many of you know, I am currently writing a book to educate, enlighten and empower children and adults to be their absolute best. The writing process is quite interesting. It is truly an ebb and flow journey that causes you to soul search deeper than you ever imagined you would. For months I wrote fairly freely and everything was rolling along quite nicely and then I came to chapter 3 and experienced what is known as ‘writers block’.

This particular chapter is a very important chapter because it introduces the concept of core beliefs and helps us all to understand how beliefs we formed in childhood shape who we are today.

Instead of getting frustrated with my lack of free flow writing I removed myself from the computer for a while and began to ask the Universe for guidance. A funny thing happens when you ask the Universe for guidance…you get exactly what you’ve asked for!

According to Abraham-Hicks (The Law of Attraction, Esther & Gerry Hicks), “A belief is a thought that you simply keep thinking.”

We all have beliefs. We have beliefs about the world and how it works. We have beliefs about people and how they function. We have beliefs about ourselves and what makes us tick on a daily basis.

Chapter 3 of my book focuses on beliefs that formed in early childhood that we have validated over time. These beliefs were born from thoughts that we had about ourselves or life in general and they dwell deep within our hearts–at our very core.

A core belief that I have struggled with my entire life is that I am not good enough (another way to say this is not worthy). Many people look at me and think ‘I’ve got the world on a string.’ They have always seen my accomplishments as monumental, yet I have struggled to feel good about my own successes.

After a difficult, but enlightening lesson from the Universe (that I asked for) I can honestly say that I totally get where this came from now…

 

When I was a child my mom never sent me to school without a pretty dress and complete hairdo. I was made fun of for this because I was ‘too perfect’.

As the years went by I poured myself into art. I won several art contests and was made to feel that I was ‘favored’ by the art teacher because of my ability.

More time passed and I found my inner voice and became an accomplished singer. You can guess that this brought criticism from my peers as well.

I was just like every other kid, I wanted to be liked and I wanted to fit in, but it was becoming increasingly obvious that in order to do that I had to dim my own light.

As an adult, I am saddened to say, that I am still experiencing these ‘hits,’ so to speak when I accomplish something or speak my truth.

For the past few weeks this core belief of unworthiness has come up for me fairly strongly. I’ve been very hard on myself and unfortunately ‘dimming my own light’. Tonight I asked myself why I do this? Why is it that I cannot get past this obstacle?

The answer was within the pain of this belief.

As a child I learned to downplay my successes so that people would not make fun of me or cast me aside because they felt that my light was too bright. I’m sad to say that as an adult I was dimming my own light for this same reason, but who am I really helping if I am not being true to myself and beaming my own inner light?

Marianne Williamson teaches us that, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne WilliamsonReturn to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

I’ve come to realize that I am no longer that little girl who needs people to like her. Instead, I am a woman who has learned to like herself and love the little girl within.

I understand that no-one truly ignites their own light by dimming another and I hope you will see the same by finding your own inner light.

Don’t play small. Be who you are and allow all of your magnificence to illuminate the world because the only person, place or thing stopping you is…YOU.

I think it’s safe to say that I asked for guidance and the Universe delivered. I’m no longer ‘blocked’.

With Lots of Love & TONS of Light,

Vicki

 

What Children Are Really Communicating

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Photo By: http://photography.ivanmcclellan.com/

Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion. ~Buddha

When babies cry everyone rushes to reveal what’s wrong and alleviate their stress.  It’s somewhat of an instinct in our culture. We understand that the only way that baby can communicate a need to us; be it hunger, a necessary diaper change, fatigue or discomfort is to cry out. No one wants to hear a baby cry, so we respond quickly. Unfortunately, as a child begins to grow and learns the language, we assume that they know how to communicate their needs effectively, yet do they?

As an elementary teacher I have come to know that even though children have more vocabulary words when they enter school, they still do not know how to communicate their needs. Often, children cry out to get their meet needs, but all we see is defiance instead of their plea for help.

Bella is an adorable 1st grader who entered my classroom in September. I remember getting her kindergarten card and noting that she could be a handful at times. I put the card in my filing cabinet at the start of the year because I like to get to know my kids from my own perspective without previous judgments.

I call all of my students the week before school begins to get them excited about school (that’s just how I roll). We then have a ‘Welcome Back Picnic’ at our school to meet the parents and children in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

When I met Bella and her mom at the picnic, I noticed that Bella appeared to be ‘running the show.’ Her mom and I talked for a bit and she shared that Bella’s dad died when she was only eight months old and it was just the two of them still to this day. It was easy to see that mom was compensating for the loss.

Within the first month of school, I could certainly see why Bella had earned this reputation of being a handful. She could be a bit silly and somewhat defiant at times, however she knew the rules of our classroom and understood what kind of behavior was expected, so she did well with me.

Right after the December break things started to change. Bella was getting herself into trouble in several of her classes (art, music & gym). She was not listening to directions and defying the teachers when they asked her not to do something. She was also talking back to adults in the building and getting herself into trouble at her before and after school program.

Her mom and I talked on the phone to create a plan of action. I suggested a behavior plan to help her but asked mom to promise to follow through at home for this to be effective.  The plan worked for a few days, but Bella just didn’t seem to care about making good choices.

On a Friday afternoon (likely around a full moon) Bella’s plea for help became apparent. She got in trouble from the moment she entered the school. She needed a great deal of redirection from me and found herself in trouble everywhere she went that day. At lunchtime I got a phone call from the cafeteria asking if she was with me because she took it upon herself to leave the cafeteria without permission. This put several staff members in a state of panic.

I walked down the hall and found her. We sat down and talked about her choices and how this was not safe. She apologized sweetly and assured me it wouldn’t happen again. The children returned to the room and she asked to go to the bathroom. Five minutes later she was brought to me by another teacher who caught her fooling around in the bathroom.

I was outraged and caught up in the moment. I called her mom and asked her to meet me for an impromptu conference with Bella right after school. My intent was to make an impact on her by having an immediate meeting with mom because she appeared to have no remorse. She was talking the talk by saying how sorry she was, but not choosing to walk the walk and something needed to be done.

A few hours later mom arrived at the school with tears in her eyes. She expressed her disappointment and shared concern that she was failing as a mother. She told me that she was terrified that Bella did not have a bond with her because she suffered from post partum after giving birth and felt that this was all her fault. Bella was often in charge because she was afraid to give her consequences for fear that she would hate her. I reassured her that we would work through this together and come up with a plan.

When we entered the room, Bella ran up to her mom with a huge smile and jumped into her arms. This, of course made her mother cry even more. She was most upset that her daughter didn’t have any remorse for her actions.

While we were having the meeting, Bella sat there stone faced with a smirk at times answering our questions like a trained professional. Her mom asked her why we were having the meeting and she answered stoically, “We are having this meeting because I’m not making good choices. I’m sorry Mommy.”

I watched her and quickly noticed that she was not present. I looked into her eyes and said, “Bella, thank you for telling us what you know we want to hear, but what I’d really like to know is how you feel.” I referred to my children’s book, “The Light Inside of Me” because we use this frequently in our classroom to describe how we are feeling. I asked her if she felt that the light inside was bright or dim. She of course said it was dim.

I looked at her with loving eyes and said, “Bella, would you please put your hands on your heart and close your eyes because I’d like to talk about your feelings.” She complied without hesitation. I then asked her to use an ‘I Statement’ to tell us why her light was dim.

She took a few minutes with her eyes closed then opened them and looked right at me. Her whole demeanor was different. She was softer, gentler, and certainly in the present moment. She began to talk and tenderly said, “Well Mrs. Savini, my light is dim because I feel sad. I feel sad because sometimes I wish my life was different. I wish that one of my friends could live with me and my mom because I get lonely. I feel lonely Mrs. Savini and that makes me really sad.”

I gave her a big hug and told her that we would work this out together. Her smile lit up the room as her light within was beaming.

Bella was crying out just like an infant. Sure at six, children have words to express their feelings, but it’s difficult to do that when you are not sure of your truth. By asking Bella to place her hands on her heart and feel her feelings, she felt safe and was able to truly express her discomfort.

Our intent that day was to teach her a lesson, but the true lesson was in being compassionate instead of judgmental. By opening our hearts to her plea for help we gave her the opportunity to express what was really bothering her.  Bella and her mom made some simple changes at home and she has been a totally different kid from that time…her best self!

Our children are a mirror for whatever we are experiencing in life. We think we hide it well, but we don’t because they are not rationalizing our reactions in their heads. Instead, they are feeling the energy we are projecting. Bella wasn’t looking to break the rules or get in trouble. Instead, she was communicating a need that was born from her emotional pain.  Today and every day take a step back when your children are ‘acting out’ and really observe the situation. Treat them like infants and go to the core of their issue to solve the problem. Instead of judging their behavior and reacting with fear, take the time to respond by understanding what they are really communicating.