Values guide our lives, we all have them. We may not all live by the same values but they are an essential part of our day by day decision making, they are principles that guide our thinking and behaviour. The values that we hold dear at school are Courage, Compassion, Belief, Integrity and Endeavour – they form an integral part of school life, woven through everything. However it would be poor if we championed those but did not recognise all the other values that make us who we are and if we did not encourage our children to “be their best self” in other ways too.
When we enter our darkest winter months and as the weather turns grey and cold it can be easy to become less than positive, coupled with that we are in a time of such uncertainty and unease. But this is precisely the time when we need to paint the positivity through our lives and let light shine, If we don’t, then the consequences to our mood and to the people around us can be very negative. So what are the benefits of a positive outlook and how can we engender this in our children?
As yourself, are you a glass half full or a glass half empty sort of person? Looking on the bright side of life and seeing opportunity -expecting something good to happen.
Or do you focus on the issues, the problems and the worries, seeing issues that may or may not exist.
Obstacles are part of life, we meet them every day, for the children it can be part of their learning process, for adults something at work or something that prevents us from doing as we would wish. At school, we teach children to embrace the obstacles and instead of seeing them as a blockage that stops them we encourage them to see it as an opportunity to pause and reflect and problem solve. This way your children become solution focused, they develop mental resilience and determination and they become problem solvers. They don’t moan and complain, they look for other ways. They learn. This is not easy. It is so much easier to sit back and think, “I can’t do it.” “It’s too hard” or “I’m not good enough”, refusing to take any responsibility so we have to practise having that positive approach where we don’t feel threatened but rather, we feel empowered.
A positive attitude is a very motivating thing, I am sure that you have been with people who are just bundles of energy with the momentum to push forward, That positivity is contagious and will carry people forward with a healthy approach to thoughts and attitudes. We describe people as having a sunny disposition, radiating warmth and bright energy. In the same way a negative approach is contagious, like a drain it pulls people in and sucks them down.
So we really need to encourage our children, and ourselves, to have that sunny side. It is proven that a positive attitude lowers stress and when you are less stressed you are more productive and more open to problem solving.
The same is even more true for children, and childhood stress can have very negative effects on prolonged wellbeing and learning. A stressed child may not be able to express how they are feeling verbally but they may become withdrawn, they may have a defeatist attitude, their minds become fogged and they become unable to focus and process learning. Or it may manifest itself in physical symptoms such as headaches, tummy aches or disturbance of sleep. Major causes of stress for children include academic pressure, big changes in the family, friendship issues, overly packed schedules. Scary books or films, or catastrophic events on the news . At the moment our children are being exposed to a great deal of negative news so as adults we need to work harder to make sure that the rest of their lives remain positive.
We do this in school by ensuring that pupils feel safe, they know and trust all the staff and they know that when they speak they will be listened to. The children are confident to share their ideas and they know that they are valued. We have maintained a broad curriculum so that the students are intellectually stimulated in all areas, from their academic and their creative subjects through to sport. We have maintained a regular routine with which our pupils are familiar and the school is still filled with laughter and chatter. School is a safe place for all pupils, filled with nurture and happiness. As teachers we are always looking at what we are doing to ensure that it is for the best for our students and I am delighted that through out this term we have maintained a sense of community which enables them to feel secure.
Please continue this at home, building positivity in our children. Keep home as relaxed as possible, commit to a routine. Family time is important, sharing a meal and talking about the day’s events or discussing different ideas, scenarios or books. Perhaps a games evening – that is not screen focused – remembering to laugh as a family. I believe that it is important for our children to see us having fun too. Make you’re your child(ren) have time to themselves, to play – to use their imaginations, to colour or draw, to just be quiet; this enables them to process their thinking, allows time for the day’s events and learning to sink in. They are not wasting their time, they are assimilating their knowledge. Find time to talk with your child, if they have a problem let them talk it through with you and you must listen – really listen Try not to be critical or tell them what to do, remember this is an obstacle and they needs it order to grow, to develop resilience, courage and determination. Always be there with encouragement and affection, you are their rock, they look to you to be that support and anchor.
With these in place, a positive attitude will increase your child’s endurance, they will learn that whinging and quitting will not help and they will develop a natural “can do” attitude, they will become indefatigable. As they sees that their positivity has beneficial effects, self esteem will grow, they will believe that they are being their best self and they will be more willing to take on bigger goals and achieve more. Your child will develop a greater stamina and increased motivation which will, in turn, foster success.
Attitude is an excellent predictor of success. When you expect the best to happen, you’ll working until your goals are reached. You also attract better opportunities, feel better about yourself, and experience less stress. A positive attitude may be the best tool you, and your child can add to your success toolboxes. Be positive and you’ll raise the spirits of all those around you and achieve great results.
“In order to carry a positive action we must develop have a positive vision.”