What would you say if your child asked you the following question? "Dad, Am I ugly?"
This is what our 8yr old asked me the other day.
I obviously didn't want him to feel or think this, but I was temporally taken back by the question. I had to prompt my synapses to fire faster to come up with a response that was going to build confidence and dispel this type of thinking.
It was a perfect opportunity to REPROGRAM and strengthen his subconscious belief system, however, It's not as easy as most people say it is, even for adults.
Many of us have read that you can use affirmation to reprogram your or your child's subconscious beliefs.
Other techniques suggest that you write down the limiting belief, the old story, break it, toss it away, burn it. Then write a new story and boom, you have been liberated and are now a new more well rounded person (not).
So why is it that most people don't see the changes expected using these techniques?
It has to do with our childhood.
Most of us have been exposed to some kind of authoritarian parenting i.e. "Eat all your food", "Study...", "Behave", ”Don't do this or that”...
We didn't have much power of decisions as kids, we were told what to do, and most of us just did, we were programmed by our parents to just follow and obey (ouch but true).
The typical authoritarian response to the above question "Dad, Am I ugly?", may have been something like, "Don't say that... that is not true, you are beautiful".
An automatic response to protect our kids by denying the thought or emotion?
This unfortunately is not reprogramming, although it might seem like it, it is just repression and denial without tangible proof or example.
It creates a belief in this 8yr old’s head that his thoughts are wrong, and he needs someone to tell him what to feel and think - exactly what we don't want our kids to do hence the Dream Cast Project.
Instead...here is how the hypothetical scenario unfolded.
I said: "Ok, why do you feel ugly?"
Kid: "I don't like my hair"
Me: "What don't you like about your hair?"
Kid: "Because it's a different color than my sister"
He had created a negative belief around being ugly because his hair was different from his sisters.
So I listened, understood, and accepted what he was saying WITHOUT denying or repressing the thought and belief.
I then asked him about the color of his mom's hair, whose hair is the same color as his, and his sisters is the same as mine.
I asked him if he thought his mom’s hair color was ugly too, to which he said no.
Then I said: "If your hair color is very similar to your moms, and your mom's hair color is not ugly... is your hair color ugly?"
And he said NO.
I explained to him that our uniqueness is what makes us special, that people are different and that is a good thing.
He hugged me, smiled and walked away and went to ride his bike, most likely to feel the wind in his very special hair :-)
THAT IS REPROGRAMMING....
I came across a piece of literature originally published by The Mind Engineer and adapted it as it speaks to what Michele and I strive to achieve with Dream Cast Project i.e. change the world through all kids by encouraging them to think independently and to be confident when overstepping the limit lines sometimes painted by our society and circumstances.
Although the Dream Cast Project is still in its infancy, we are starting to rally friends who are willing to support in some way shape or form, whether it be through setting up free speaking engagements or introducing us to NGO’s / after school programs to whom we can donate the Dream Cast journals etc.
If you have any ideas about how we can get the Dream Cast Project to more kiddos, please let us know,