Updated: Aug 11, 2020
If you remember from my last “Sensei Says”, over the next few weeks we are not just going to tell you how to get your children off to a strong start in school, but arm you with the exact steps and actions you can take now. These will apply no matter what “schooling” looks like for you in August. It may be all in-person classes, all online, a hybrid or choosing to homeschool.
You can see my previous blogs on this subject on our website, but here is an outline of the path we are going to take to get you and your child running at full speed that first day of school:
1. Your State. (You and your child’s emotions and energy)
2. What you focus on. (Where you and your child direct your energy and attention)
3. Your strategy. (The exact process and steps you can take)
I covered your “state” last week (Resist or Embrace change) and your “why” (Teaching your child to take charge of their choices and habits). Today let’s move on to your “focus” before we give you the strategy and steps.
We are extremely lucky because we are one of the few beings on this earth who can choose what we think about. This can be particularly powerful now.
What do you spend most of your time right now thinking about? The problem and obstacles, or the opportunities and solutions? I know what you are probably thinking – “Oh no, here comes that “positive thinking” stuff again!?” But hear me out for your child.
This is not about thinking only positive thoughts and ignoring the problems. But success leaves clues and at this dojo we just learn from other highly successful people and parents, then share them with you.
It does not work to walk out into your front yard and say over and over “There are no weeds. There are no weeds.” There are weeds in your garden and not thinking about them or trying to convince yourself they are not there will not work.
There are weeds in your garden but instead of seeing the problems and obstacles to having a nice lawn, you could do something much better. You could spend that energy on figuring out a solution. There is a solution to every problem in life. You can figure it out and fix your yard.
So how does this apply to you and your child now? First just notice. Only by first noticing can you even make an intentional choice. Just notice - how much of your time, energy and emotion is spent on the problems and obstacles caused by this virus? How much energy is spent on worrying about the start of school?
Then make a choice. What serves you, and even more importantly, what serves your child better – spending 80% of your energy on the problems and obstacles, or spending 80% of your energy on the opportunities and solutions? Spending 20% of your time on the problems is more than enough, don’t you think!
The world around us does not help. Look at the news. They spend 25 minutes on all the bad news – cases, deaths, the state, the federal government, the weather, the construction traffic. Then finish with a three-minute piece on some good news. Then there is social media. (Wouldn’t it be nice if Facebook had a virus/political filter?)
Here is another way to look at it. Think of what you feed your mind just like what you feed your body. Would you choose to feed your family only pizza, chips, cookies and pop? What you feed your mind determines your mental and emotional health. What happens when most of your waking (and sleeping) thoughts are around things that cause you fear and anxiety?
So, what can you do?
Start by noticing what you and your child focus on? Then notice what things in your environment encourage or bring it on.
Then just make a choice. It is interesting because your mind cannot think of or do two different things at the same time. When you are working of a solution it is hard to think negatively.
Control what you feed you and your child’s mind. You need far less news watching, social media and smartphone time than you think. Your child really will not miss anything by not seeing the news.
Stop thinking or over thinking everything and replace it with action. Stop sitting there and do something, anything. Remember, use the tool of your mind not being able to do two things at the same time. Take action to see the opportunities and solve the problems. You may feel like you are helpless and out of control. A few things you cannot control but most things in your life are under your control.
Here is the golden key – gratitude. Highly successful people know this – Fear and anger cannot exist in the presence of the emotion of gratitude. It is a powerful tool in your hand. So try this, when you first wake up in the morning, instead of reaching for your smartphone, turning on the television or logging on to your computer, instead spend a few minutes just thinking of three things you are grateful or thankful for today. They can be big or small. Then teach this to your kids and do it with them. Use questions. Just ask them “What are you grateful or thankful for today?” How your start your day is huge. Choose it.
Stay tuned because we will share the action steps you can take in the following articles.
Embrace the Change. Start Strong.