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i ng

ow er
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Em s
Ki d by Ma ureen
Hea ly

©istockphoto.com/Ramona Heim

34 Pure Inspiration
Like the acorn that has the latent Most simply, it is why Wonder Woman
potential of the oak tree within, was my favorite television show in the sev-
enties. It made me feel powerful. I was a
every child holds his or her great-
seven-year-old girl and Linda Carter was my
ness. It is “believing in” this great-
hero. She could beat any bad guy, using her
ness, nurturing it, and empowering golden lasso, tiara, and bullet-deflecting
your child to become his or her best bracelets. It made me feel that I could do it
self that marks this new age of par- too! And that is what Harry Potter and
enting. Gone are the days when par- Narnia do for kids today.
ents wanted their kids to get a “good Such imaginative worlds are not only
playful, but also serve a very real purpose
job”—now we want them to have
for children, helping them envision them-
rewarding lives! It is a shift of epic
selves as powerful creators.
proportions. And the “real world” is also an essential
Such a shift begins with empowering place to help children appropriately harness
children, literally helping them gain a sense their energy and potential. Owen, age five,
of self-trust, confidence, courage, and belief lit up when his father told him he was “so
that they can successfully face whatever life creative” and “talented” in his painting
presents. It is helping children gain a sense class. It’s almost as if you could literally see
of real power, inner power, establishing a Owen looking more confident and strong.
connection to their unique truth. This is a great example of a child beginning
Inner power is the ability to persevere to own his creative abilities.
when obstacles arise, as they always do, Unfortunately, well-intentioned parents
especially in childhood when confronted sometimes do the opposite as well. Olive,
with bullies, poor grades, rejection, and age eight, was dancing with friends and
bruises. It is a knowing that you are valuable playing with her hula hoop in the park. It
and can make it. Such inner strength also was just good old summer fun. Her mom,
encourages a child to courageously risk Jenny, told Olive that she looked like she
sharing his or her talents with the world. had “two left feet” when she was dancing.
And in today’s world, we need everyone’s Jenny’s friend laughed. To me it seemed
best. hurtful. Olive looked a bit sad and didn’t
want to dance anymore.
Empowering Kids Children such as Olive need a highly
Empowering literally means to “put in” or tuned-in parent who can honor, as well as
“to cause” power, as derived from its Latin nurture, her exceedingly creative, sensitive,
roots. The act of empowering children is a and intelligent nature. And I believe Jenny
process of instilling in them beliefs and feel- can be that parent. Empowering your child
ings that they are powerful now, as well as isn’t rocket science, but it does take effort,
creating optimum conditions that mirror mindfulness, and awareness. It really is a
back to them these concepts. skill that can be learned.

The act of empowering children is


a process of instilling in them beliefs
and feelings that they are powerful now.

Pure Inspiration 35
Her mom, Sam, came to her side and said, “You
Empowerment 101
can do it! I believe in you,” and with a little
Being able to recognize an opportunity to
push, she did it! Such words of encouragement
empower a child takes awareness. I believe par-
made all the difference.
ents need to decide to make every interaction as
Encouragement and mirroring may seem
important and powerful as possible. Children so
extremely simple to you. I agree. I also believe
deeply want, need, and wish to feel fully sup-
that many things are simple, but not always
ported here on earth—and it’s up to you to real-
easy. For example, riding 100 miles on your
ize that you are the perfect person in the perfect
bicycle is conceptually easy, but the practice
place at the perfect moment to do it.
becomes a whole lot harder.
Learning to empower children isn’t compli-
cated. It really takes the same effort you apply to
any goal with enthusiasm, dedication, and a will- Empowering Words
ingness to “set aside” your own ego, emotions, Words have power. Selecting just the right
and limited thinking. A child so wholeheartedly words and saying them to your child with mean-
wants to believe that his or her dreams can come ing and enthusiasm can fuel his or her best life.
true, so it is up to us, the adults, to support this Mother Teresa captured this sentiment when she
notion (whether it makes sense to us or not!). said, “Kind words are short and easy to speak,
Like little Joe, age three, who told me he is but their echoes are truly endless.” I know this
going to be a spaceship repairman. I said, “GO to be true.
FOR IT.” One event stands out in my mind. In 1998, I

A child so wholeheartedly wants to believe


that his or her dreams can come true, so it is
up to us, the adults, to support this notion.

As you gather your emotional and mental was at a fancy dinner with my father, overlook-
forces to focus upon empowering your child or ing the Grand Canyon. He leaned over the table
children, there are two techniques that can help and said, “You are my biggest accomplish-
you consciously empower them. They are: ment!” I was surprised and delighted. He passed
• Mirroring – It is the process of serving as on later that year, but his words still sing in
the reflection of a child’s abilities, skills, and my soul.
qualities, so they begin to “see” themselves as Children are the same. They listen with their
they really are—highly valuable, talented, and minds and hearts to every word their parents,
capable right now. caregivers, teachers, and friends say. Words shape
Owen’s father (from above) mirrored to their world. Selecting just the right words and
Owen his creative strengths. The effect was saying them to your child has the power to
nearly immediate as you could see Owen feeling strengthen them, and in today’s world, every child
more positive and confident. needs to be strong from the inside out.
• Encouragement – It is the act of literally More specifically, I believe words spoken with
“putting in courage” or belief in your child. the intention to instill a greater level of confi-
Such support enables them to “see” themselves dence, courage, self-trust, optimism, and connec-
as they are—skilled, competent, and able tion are essential words of empowerment. And to
right now. help you, the interested adult, I have included my
Madeline, age six, recently had her training definition of such inner qualities along with sam-
wheels taken off. She was excited and terrified. ple sayings below to get you started.

36 Pure Inspiration
Sample Sayings
These sample sayings are excerpted from
my upcoming parenting book, 365 Perfect
Sayings, published by Greenleaf Book
Selecting just the
Group. The book was designed to help the right words and
busy adult say just the right thing to his or
her child to empower them. saying them to your
Such sayings, I assure you, were written
after years of study and practice bringing out child has the power
the best in children worldwide. My travels
have taken me to faraway places as remote
to strengthen them,
as the base of the Himalayas (in the middle
of winter!). So my child development
and in today’s world,
experience is global, but my approach is every child needs to
personal—I really care.
I want you to become adept at empower- be strong from the
ing your child. This means focusing upon
developing the five inner qualities that facili- inside out.
tate a child to feel empowered, and they are:
• Confidence – An ability to extend belief
in oneself. A confident child believes that he
or she can do it...and wins the spelling bee!
• Courage – An ability to be strong from
the inside out. A courageous child displays
strength to face new situations, such as
jumping off the diving board for the first
time!
• Connection – An ability to relate to self
and others. A connected child values rela-
tionships and seeks to make friends (i.e.,
imaginary, real, pen pals, self-journaling).
• Self-Trust – An ability to extend faith in
one’s self. A child displaying self-trust
believes and relies upon his or her self (i.e.,
inner feelings, thoughts, senses) to guide the
way...and pick what color to paint the bird-
house!
• Optimism – An ability to look at the
positive side of life. An optimistic child
tends to look for the “good things” in a
situation and laughs easily.
Each of these inner qualities by itself has
the potential to propel a child’s healthy
expansion; however, when nurtured in tan-
dem, the sum of the empowered whole is far
greater than the sum of the parts!

©istockphoto.com/
Olga Solovei
Pure Inspiration 37
As you continue to further harness the power of
More About Sayings
affirmations to support your child’s healthy mind,
Each saying here was crafted to be playful and pur-
body, and spiritual development, I have a few recom-
poseful in guiding your child to feel more capable,
mendations. First, the more you can create a “habit”
confident, strong, connected, and positive about his
of utilizing positive affirmations in your life, the more
or her self now.
it becomes a fun family habit. You can create a
Such affirmations become increasingly potent
“Sayings Time” every day or week that is solely
when said with sincere enthusiasm, and their consis-
focused upon using the power of the word—playfully
tent repetition will help to pave positive pathways in
and purposefully.
your child’s growing mind.
Second, I am a big fan of personalizing sayings.
Quality Saying Tweak one of the affirmations from the chart or create
a completely new one that holds significance for your
Confidence Think You Can
child right now. For example, I created one titled
If you think you can, you can. If you
“Bubble Up” that helped my client, Owen, age three,
think you can’t, you are right, explained
put an invisible bubble of protection around him, so
Henry Ford. A secret to success in life is
he could feel strong in preschool. It was both a power-
BELIEVING you can do it. I certainly
ful and practical solution.
believe you can!
Third, I want you to “pay attention” to how affir-
mations seem to influence your child. Does he or she
Courage Heart-to-Heart
smile right away? Are they more powerful in conjunc-
Place your hand over your heart and say,
tion with music? Is it a spark for them? Can they
“I am strong,” and feel it ever long! So
create their own? Does a repeated affirmation create
anytime you need this INNER
a visible difference? Consider this a challenge from
STRONG, place your hand on your
me to you.
heart and BOOM—there it is.
Last But Not Least
Connection Together
Have fun empowering your child or children! I
We are all in it together. So help your
believe it’s a process that has the potential to change
friends too—teach them to paint a
the world, really. As more and more kids live from a
birdhouse, sing a little ditty, or smile
place where they believe anything is possible, that
real pretty. Learning together makes
they are strong right now, and that their dreams can
you birds of a feather!
come true, the world will be transformed. And as
Marianne Williamson stated, “There is no single effort
Self-Trust Only You
more radical in its potential for saving the world than
You are here to do what ONLY YOU
a transformation of the way we raise our children.”
can do. You fill a place that only you
can fill. Enjoy being fully and
Maureen Healy is the founder of Growing
completely YOU. WAHOO!!!
Happy Kids, a worldwide organization dedi-
cated to bringing the best minds of our time
Optimism Happy Surprises together to grow happy children. She can
also be found online with a Psychology
Say “Happy Surprises Come to Me” in Today Blog, as well as being a frequent guest
the morning and see what happens all speaker. Her upcoming book, 365 Perfect
Sayings, will be available online as well as in
day. Happy things are sure to find you
a store near you. To learn more, visit
in all sorts of unexpected ways! www.growinghappykids.com.

As more and more kids live from a place where they


believe anything is possible, that they are strong
right now, and that their dreams can come true,
the world will be transformed.
38 Pure Inspiration