Class notes: Authenticity
These notes are from week five of Beginners Kid's Class.
Energetic Vocabulary Words:
Authentic – Being yourself, the way you were meant to be, without anyone else’s ideas of what you “should be” mixed up in it.
We will be discussing the art of just being you. This may sound obvious, but kids, just like adults, figure out quickly what makes them likable and what doesn’t. As much as we all want to be liked and want our kids to be liked, we also want them like themselves for who they are, just the way they are. Sometimes they try too hard to be something they aren’t which backfires on them because people see that they are not being honest. Maybe they pretend to like something they don’t or are mean to someone they wouldn’t normally be mean to.
We will not only talk about them being themselves, but we will talk about what other people do to put on their masks and how to navigate through that. This is a very important part of energy management because we often can sense the mismatch of someone’s true self from what they are presenting, but we invalidate it rather than trust it.
Have a puppet show! Have your kids show you the different parts of themselves through puppets. Give them different scenarios such as school. Ask them to show you themselves at school, on the playground, with mom and dad, and with friends. Ask them questions about that side of themselves. Do you like yourself in this situation? Can you be yourself? Why or why not?
If you discover that your child doesn’t feel safe to be themselves in a particular situation, explore that with puppets. Ask your kid’s puppet with your puppet what that part of them needs to feel more comfortable. The point is not to be all parts of you all of the time. It is appropriate to hold back parts at times. The point is that you aren’t creating new parts that aren’t even really you at all.
I like myself
Have your kid tell you five things they like about themselves and five things they don’t. (or as many as they can come up with) Talk about why they like these things and don’t like these things. Be on the lookout for anything that has to do with others such as “because my teacher says…” That is a good sign they only like it because they have discovered it is likable. You can explore it with questions like, why do you think that person likes it when you do that? Do YOU like it when you do that?
You will notice with these exercises that the older the kid is, the more likely they are to be formulating opinions about themselves based on the outside world. That is part of learning who we are in the world. This is not about judging it for right or wrong, but simply keeping them aware of it, so they remember who they are in the process of identifying themselves with the rest of the world.