Friday, August 12, 2016

Day 2493 - When children stop believing

At what point do we stop believing in the possibilities?


Kidnom is a fantastical place to live.  It's a world where we are capable of anything, clever at everything and believe that magic can actually happen.

Disney was onto something when he designed a world that allowed our imaginations to soar and our dreams to have no limits.



During my author talks I not only talk about being an author, but I also talk about how we can make our dreams come true.  That is after all what Cheer Chick Charlie is all about.  A little girl who has a dream and the experiences she has as she makes her dreams come true.

As I chat to the children I ask them lots of questions.

I ask them to share their dreams.  What do they want to do and who do they want to be when they grow up?

I ask them to tell me what their strengths are and to share the things they are clever at.  Who's good at art?  Who's great at sport?  Who's clever at writing?

I ask them if they believe in themselves.  All of the time? Some of the time? None of the time?

It's interesting to watch their responses and to to see at what age we stop believing in the possibilities.

Yesterday's author talk confirmed what all my previous author talks have suggested.   Up to the age of 8 or 9 children still tend to believe in themselves and their own abilities.  They believe they have something special to offer to offer the world.  By around the ages of 10 and 11 this starts to dip and by 12 they are starting to really question their own power.

Yesterday when I asked what their dreams were, there were kids with very definite dreams.  There was the usual sporting hopes of being a football or soccer star, there was the current trend of wanting to compete in the Olympics, there were actors, singers, authors and even a paleontologist.

When I asked what their strengths were, the majority of the room raised their hand for every strength I asked about.

When I asked if they believed in themselves and their abilities the majority of the children raised their hands.

I was talking in front of year 3 and 4 children which for me is the optimal age for getting to them before they start to doubt themselves.

As I watched my own children grow, as I coached cheerleading squads from 5 years old to 13 years old, as I talk to children on the author circuit I can see, that through comparison and judgement of self and others, children start to lose the magic of "anything is possible" around the age of 10.

The voices around them and therefore the voices in their heads start to change.  The chatter becomes different.  There's more hesitation and judgement.  Dreams start to get questioned and the possibilities start to fizzle.

The reality is that opportunities are actually everywhere! But to see them, we've got to believe in the possibilities.

Wouldn't it be great if we could keep kids believing in themselves?  If we could capture that enthusiasm, excitement and wonder so often experienced in Kidnom and carry it around with us forever?


17 comments :

  1. Kanye talks a lot on this. (Stop laughing). He thinks it's really important we try to capture that self believe (as it also is the link into creativity.) It's the outside world that starts telling us we can't be all we want to be, and aren't good enough. I think as a kid we don't listen to the negativity of others, but then over time, especially the teen years, it's all we focus on, and it destroys us. However, I think we can change that. “Society has put up so many boundaries, so many limitations on what’s right and wrong that it’s almost impossible to get a pure thought out. It’s like a little kid, a little boy, looking at colors, and no one told him what colors are good, before somebody tells you you shouldn’t like pink because that’s for girls, or you’d instantly become a gay two-year-old. Why would anyone pick blue over pink? Pink is obviously a better color. Everyone’s born confident, and everything’s taken away from you”
    ― Kanye West

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't believe I agree with Kanye!!! But yes. We lose belief and pure creativity the moment we start school and we're told that trees must be green and the sky must be blue and that we must colour between the lines ... whose lines?

      Delete
    2. I can't believe it's Kanye! What an awesome quote!

      Delete
  2. Confidence seems to ebb with puberty and high school. If only there was a program in schools to combat it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My thoughts exactly! I think it should start in primary school. Which is why I created Cheer Chick Charlie ...

      Delete
  3. Sadly I think teachers at school don't always help. I have lost count of the number of times a child has been disappointed by a passing remark from a teacher which has directly affected their beliefs and self-esteem. I think boys tend to go a little longer on the childhood front too, so seem a little more protected for a while. Growing up does contain its fair share of sadness for children, you're very right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's sad. There are some amazing teachers out there who are very encouraging, but as with anything there are others who aren't ...

      Delete
  4. I'm with Amy, I'm sure there's a link to puberty and/or high school. I think the trick is to never grow up!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm wondering at what age my kisses will cease to have analgesic properties!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, my kisses still work on one but not the other now. Although a texted x o still seems to have an impact :) SO maybe it never stops. The delivery just changes

      Delete
  6. Yes, I agree with you 100% Leanne.. My middle daughter Nikki has just turned 9 and is still quite confident, but her older sister just turned 12 and confidence hasn't been around for her for at least a couple of years. It's a shame because I always try to be encouraging and supportive.. Maybe it just has to do with them maturing?? Who knows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they develop "doubt" ... perhaps doubt doesn't exist so much in the younger years.

      Delete
  7. It made me sad to read this but I know you (and Kanye) are right because I remember it happening to me around that age. I hope it will be something my son can grow out of with the help of supportive parents - you can't always count on teachers. I know the ones we had at school did nothing for our confidence!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha. I had one amazing teacher at school who was a key factor in me believing in myself enough to go to uni But that was only after another one stripped me bare and made me feel worthless. There are some good ones out there! And also some not-so-good ...

      Delete
  8. I've always wondered how we lose this ability to love and respect ourselves. I guess it's a natural part of growing and seeing the world in a different way - but then it seems like sadly so few people ever go back to believing in themselves. I had a bit of a moment like that yesterday (too long and it was at work to recount) but it made me sad that someone wouldn't see something about themselves as an opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes!!! This is so true!!! I used to be a primary school teacher and I mainly taught Grade 2s. I just loved how they truly believed that they could do anything in life. They would happily tell you that they were the 'best in the world' at something. I just loved that!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is such an inspiring post, Leanne! And thank you for the take away that kids start to lose their self-belief at around the age of 10. The work you do with Cheer Chick Charlie is beyond children's literature. I love that you're helping them with their self-confidence.

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing your thoughts! Keep them rolling in :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...