I was invited to host a workshop entitled ‘Equipping our Children with Confidence” as part of the recent AGM for Tyndale St. Georges Community Centre in Montreal. Central to my message was the power of identifying, building upon and celebrating student strengths – I even assigned homework to the board, staff and parents who attended! I asked them to create a circle map, identifying the strengths for each child in their lives, and then to put the circle map in a place for easy future reference (i.e. fridge, bedroom wall).
When we identify and celebrate strengths, we help build a sense of self in young people and inspire them to maximize and depend on these attributes and skills. If discouraged by shortcomings or failures, a quick reminder of our strengths helps build resilience for bouncing back. Furthermore, when designing learning activities, starting with student strengths, rather than weaknesses, facilitates both confidence and competence.
A few weeks later, the grade 5-6 educator at Tyndale showed me the Gift that she and her students created. She had asked each student in her class to write one positive statement about each of the others, highlighting their strengths. She then collated the statements for each student, and offered these “Blues Notes” to each one – a true gift – there’s nothing like reading positive statements from peers when we’re feeling blue.
As you navigate the excitement of the holiday season, consider sharing ‘The Gift of Strengths’ with the children (and adults!) on your gift-list!
Warm wishes – Joyeuses Fêtes!