What’s the secret to raising positive kids who believe they can change the world? Short answer: There is none. There is no one secret to raising children who are positive, who get good grades or who go on to change the world. But there is one technique that could make a big difference. And it is vastly underused.
Perhaps you are just like a coaching client of mine. Perhaps you are just like me and the countless others I have interacted with who are just like him and I.
Perhaps your parents never told you that you could change the world, either.
But you don’t want that for your kids (and if you don’t have children of your own, apply this to yourself, your nieces and nephews, or anyone over whom you have influence). You want them to believe in themselves, to believe that they have meaning and purpose in this world, to believe that they can change the world.
I want that for you. I want that for our daughter. I want that for all of the children in this world.
So how do we do it?
I believe that the secret, if you can even call it that, lies in the power of declarations. No, I don’t mean Stuart Smalley saying, “I am good enough, I am smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” I fell into the trap myself of allowing spoofs like that to taint my view of positive declarations. I saw them as tricks that weak people play and laughed at the character on Saturday Night Live.
But the reality is that declarations are powerful. They work. Some of the top achievers and world changers across the globe use them. And they even work on kids.
In fact, what better time to start declaring that your child can and will change the world than when they are young?
We started with Aracelli when she was approximately four months old. I made the declarations for her. I said:
You are beautiful.
You are smart.
You are creative.
You are talented.
And so on.
As she reached the age when she could put together three and four word sentences, she began to declare one or two of them on her own, progressing to a full three minutes worth of declarations each night before bed.
Daddy, will you…
One night, when she was a little older than two years old, somehow I had forgotten it was time for declarations. I don’t think I’d ever forgotten before, but it was late and we were a little out of our bedtime routine.
Then Aracelli looked up at me and said, “Daddy, will you please hold me to do my declarations?”
And we began:
I am beautiful.
I am talented.
I am energetic.
I am blessed.
I am loved.
That is a moment I will never forget.
The most common objection to doing declarations with children or alone is:
They’re kind of corny.
I’d rather be a total cornball and make history than live a life of mediocrity. Normal is moping around, watching Entertainment Tonight wishing that you had someone else’s life, feeling average, being average, and being forgotten by history.
But not me. I am a history maker! I am world changer!
So if that means I am corny, I can live with that.
(Not to mention that most of the world changers I can think of: Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and Isaac Newton to name a few…all cornballs, so you’ll be in good company)
You decide: Cornball world changer or average.
What if my child is older?
It’s never too late to start. It’s never too late to start yourself.
Don’t concern yourself with the lost years just because you missed out on doing this with your kids when they were infants. That doesn’t matter now.
It’s never too late to develop positive, healthy habits with your kids.
What do we say?
You simply declare truths. You declare the best version of yourself and others and have your kids do the same.
I suggest picking the simplest form of words, so “I am intelligent” is better said, “I am smart.”
But the most important thing is to make them your declarations and to say them out loud about yourself. If your children are too young, declare them to them. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they pick up on them once they can speak.
Action item: Start with your kids today. Download my free Declarations Cheat Sheet. It’s a simple list of phrases you might start with. Pick some of them, pick all of them. It’s up to you.
You are a world changer. Your kids are world changers.
Believe it. Become it. Pass it on.
What has stopped you from doing declarations with your children or yourself?