Becoming the Teacher
The new school year is here! While it is an exciting time of new beginnings, it can also create nerves and anxiety. The unknowns about what the year will bring can be sometimes overwhelming; however, my oldest daughter was ready and riding on a high. They posted class lists the previous night, and she had many friends in her class, which made her happy. She met her teacher at the supply drop off night and even got to pick her desk.
On the first day of school, she woke up with great excitement and anticipation. She was happily chatting away as she dressed in her first day of school clothes that she had picked out very carefully. She was kind and soft with her sister, and they were smiling and laughing. While she usually wears her hair in a ponytail, she requested that I curl her hair for this very first day of fourth grade. After I got ready, she joined me in the bathroom, and I began styling her hair very carefully. She was looking in the mirror as I did this and her chatter melted away. She grew quiet, and suddenly said: “I am going to throw up!” I was in absolute shock. My mind raced as I thought about what she ate last night, and this morning and I wondered if she maybe had the stomach flu. She bent over the sink and began to dry heave. I felt her forehead, and it was a reasonable temperature.
As I rubbed her back and told her she would be okay, it dawned on me that she was quietly telling herself a story in her head as I curled her hair. After she stopped dry heaving and nothing came up, I asked: “what have you been saying to yourself in your mind?” She didn’t immediately divulge the messages she was conjuring up in her head, but after a minute, she shared her fears with me. She told me what she was running through her head as I curled her hair. That was it! It was nerves and anxiety manifesting itself physically because she had been repeating her fears and a negative story in her mind. I gently challenged her thinking and questioned the validity of her worries. After she agreed that her concerns were not likely to happen, so we replaced her negative thoughts with a positive mantra. I repeated the mantra out loud as I finished curling her hair, and I asked her to say it out loud with me.
After this process began, I could physically see her body begin to relax. When I finished curling her hair, I asked how she was doing, and she said she felt better. She smiled and hugged me. This experience was a big step for us in so many ways. It was a chance for me to pass on learning that I am using to change the story in my head. It also served as a definitive example of the power of the mind and how you can create destruction or calm confidence, depending on what you are telling yourself. It was an opportunity for me to coach her and for her to see the power she has in her own well being and success. It was also a chance for me to realize that I can positively impact my children by introducing tools to help shape the world they want for themselves. While it was a small step in this long journey, it was a significant one for both of us.
Messages to my daughters: You are in control of the stories and the thoughts that you tell yourself. When you find a negative line of thinking running through your mind, stop it and replace it with a positive narrative. It will make all the difference in how you think about yourself, your physical wellbeing, and what you manifest and attract into your life.