We all know that emotions like love and gratitude are fun and beneficial, but what about emotions like fear, worry or jealousy? Believe it or not, all our feelings serve a purpose. I say “believe it or not” because maybe, like me, you may have grown up believing that being scared is a bad thing and something to be avoided. Fear certainly does feel uncomfortable, doesn’t it? But what if I told you that you could make friends with fear? The following is an excerpt from the Reader’s Note in our new book Feel Your Feelings. It explains the basic concept of the book and why scary emotions are our friends. Why being scared (or afraid) is a good thing Feel Your Feelings introduces children to basic emotions with fun poems that they can act out from head to toe. They will learn that emotions are our friends. Some emotions show us what we love, others protect us from harm, and all of them put together, like colors on an artist’s palette, paint a beautiful picture of life. This simple book about learning how to identify and accept the emotions you have creates a safe place for children to act out a variety of feelings. Having feelings is part of being a human being, but learning how to feel your feelings is part of being a healthy and wise human being. Teaching children to recognize and appreciate all their feelings is a wonderful gift a parent, teacher, or caregiver can give. The basic concept of feeling your feelings There is no such thing as a good or bad feeling. An emotion may feel bad — or as we like to say, “uncomfortable” — but that doesn’t mean it is a bad emotion to have or that we should try to avoid having uncomfortable feelings. Every feeling has a purpose! Every feeling is your friend. Some emotions teach us what we are passionate about, and some emotions teach us which dangers to avoid. Emotions are the spice of life. They are what motivate us and help form our moral compass. Why we label emotions as bad One reason we label emotions as bad is that they can lead to emotional outbursts. It’s as if you have a friend called “Scared” knocking on the door trying to warn you there is a fire outside, but you’re too scared to open the door. So, the knocking gets louder and more frantic until Scared bursts into the room and, suddenly, everyone is panicking because the room is on fire. But what if we could open the door a lot sooner and ask Scared, “What’s the problem?” Scared might say, “I’m here to help. Please don’t panic. There is fire, and we need to calmly exit the building and call for help.” If we never open the door to our emotions, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and even physical illness. When children understand how they are feeling and feel safe expressing themselves, itRead More
About Scott StollScott Stoll asked himself a question: “If I could do anything, what would I do?” His answer resulted in a quest for happiness around the world on a bicycle (32,344 miles, 4 years, 59 countries, 6 continents). Since coming home, Scott has continued living his dream by spreading his message of finding happiness through writing books and working with kids of all ages, including being an artist-in-residence and inspirational speaker. He has also been honored to be named the Cultural Ambassador to Argentina by the U.S. Department of State and has received the Hosteling International’s “Spirit of Adventure Award,” among other distinctions. Read more about Scott on The Argonauts.
As we enter a new year full of new challenges, it is more important than ever to think optimistically. With the ongoing pandemic, social-emotional learning is more important now than ever. In creating our book, Dream It!: A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness, with my co-author Sara E. Williams, PhD, we did ground-breaking research that measured the effectiveness of strategies we identified to increase optimistic thinking in children. In our last post, we shared a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Child & Youth Care Forum, that validates Dream It! A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness as scientifically proven to increase optimistic thinking. In this post, we’ll share strategies to help you teach your child to think optimistically and ways to bring books to life, both in general and specifically for our book, Dream It!. To help, we will provide some free games and activities, including a new augmented reality game. How to bring a book to life. As a parent or teacher, you may feel challenged to bring books to life for your children. One of the best ways to do this is to connect what you read in the book to your child’s life by providing hands-on experiences that allow them to explore the concepts personally. For example, if you were reading The Three Bears to a young child, you might make oatmeal or porridge for them to eat, or get them to compare the size of their bed to the size of your bed. In Dream It!, we use this approach to teach children how to dream and how to turn dreams into reality. We define dreaming as following your passion, thinking optimistically and setting goals. We teach these concepts by playing games and doing activities, each one having been tested in a real-world classroom. Games are fun and interactive ways to help your child explore concepts they read about. To try some, you can download a free sample of chapter 4. These are what we call bucket list games that help kids brainstorm their dreams. For example, the Dream Board activity is a way to help children collect new ideas in one place. Encourage them to add photos, ticket stubs, drawings, sticky notes — anything that sparks their passion. Then every day they can visualize their dreams coming true. After identifying their dreams, Dream It! shows kids how to sort their dreams according to values and skills and then deconstruct and recombine them to make up new and unique dreams. For example, a child might have the dream of being a cheetah. Adults might dismiss this dream because it’s impossible! However, we encourage children to use their imagination so they can discover their passions and reframe them into more feasible goals. We could ask a child who dreams of being a cheetah why they want to do that. They might say because they love running and being fast and feeling free. We would then help them explore other ways they achieve those same goalsRead More