The other day I took my kids to the park to run off some energy. I found a seat on the bench at the edge of the playground, and settled in.
Kids ran back and forth, some parents chasing them, others just watching.
Then I saw a little girl gaining some speed across the playground. She was really smokin' too. Suddenly WHAM. She was layed flat out in .2 seconds. What she tripped over could have been just her own speed, she was going so fast.
She stood up, sniffling, and brushed herself off. A woman, I'm guessing to be her grandmother, bustled up to her and helped brush her off.
She said, 'See?? That's what happens when you run like that!'
Ugh. I cringed at the program that had just been re-enforced to this little girl.
A bit later, I saw the girl starting to gain speed again. This time her grandmother insisted that she slow down and shouted to her, 'SLOW DOWN! That's how you get hurt!'
Ugh again. Re-enforcement again.
It's been said that 50% of our beliefs, programs, and habits are learned by the age of three. THREE YEARS OLD.
Up to 80& of our beliefs, programs, and habits are learned by the age of SEVEN. SEVEN YEARS OLD.
These are beliefs on what relationships look like, religious beliefs, how we look at ourselves and others, physical beliefs, and more.
When I learned of this, I had a two year old child. I thought about how I talked to myself, because it would be an indication of how I spoke to my child.
How DID I talk to myself? It was pretty negative, I decided. Pretty sad, really.
And I was telling my child the same things about him. Not in a mean spirited way, but it was so subconscious that it never even dawned on me that I was saying these things. I was teaching him about himself, what I had been taught about myself.
Ouch. I thought, 'I have a year to install some positive programming.'
And the best way, I thought, to work on that, was to work on me. I had to start treating myself better, with more kindness, with compassion, with love. Love DOES start with me. I can't love anyone else without loving myself first, and the higher power of my understanding.
I heard Oprah once say, 'You know, every now and then when I see myself in the mirror I stop, look myself in the eye, smile, and say, 'hello, sweetie!'
How wonderful. What a wonderful and simple way to acknowledge the divine within us.
I've changed how I speak to my children, now ages six and four. I applaud their efforts, I encourage them to face their challenges, to dream big. And, I know, I tell them this because it's what I tell myself.
I hope one day at the playground to hear someone say to their child after that child has fallen, 'you're Ok..that was GREAT! You were really steamrollin'! What an amazing fall!'
Even if that parent is me.