This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
by Christine Carter
This article originally appeared on GreaterGood and is reposted with permission
1. The Courage Tool
- Ask them what the word means to them. Talk with them about facing difficult things without fear. Share examples of ways to use courage at school.
- Teach them that courage is like a muscle: The more they use it, the easier it is to stand up for what they know is right. The courage they build now will serve them for the rest of their lives.
- Help them be aware of the thoughts they have that influence their bravery. What can they say to themselves to help themselves feel courageous? (I am strong enough to do the right thing.) What types of things do they say to themselves that make them fearful? (Everyone will think I’m weird if I tell her about that.)
2. The Garbage Can Tool
- Talk with your kids about how some conflicts and unpleasant words aren’t worth giving time and attention to. These things are just like trash: stinky, rude, or inappropriate. The place for them is the garbage.
- Help them symbolically create a place to put “trash”: Once they decide that something is garbage, or that an unpleasant event is over, they can move on by throwing it away (tossing it aside to get it out of their physical space).
- As Epictetus said: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” Talk about how the Garbage Can Tool can be an effective way to respond to something unpleasant.
3. The Breathing Tool
- Practice this with your kids: Put one hand over your heart and one hand on your stomach. Breathe in slowly through your nose. Focus on the sensation of fresh air coming into your lungs and on how it feels as your belly expands. Pause briefly, relax, and then exhale through your mouth, counting slowly to five.
- See if you can take five or even 10 intentional breathes like this.
- Ask kids to pay attention to how their body feels when they use the Breathing Tool.