Saturday, August 15, 2009

Empower Your Child With Vision Boards

A daily practice of setting intentions (as described in the June 23 posting) will lay the groundwork to help your child focus on the core desires that are behind desiring specific things. Parents are often reluctant to encourage children to visualize the manifestation of things. In workshops for creating vision boards with children, I have seen parents try to discourage their youngsters from putting pictures of desired things on their boards. But there is no need to resist a child’s desire for things. There is nothing wrong with desiring things. The important thing to learn is to connect our desire for things with the core desires behind them so that we can visualize what we want while being open to receiving it or something better.

For example, let’s say a child has a desire for a new bike. We can honor that desire and also ask the child, “Why do you want to have a new bike? What feeling or experience do you think having a new bike will create for you?” To those questions, you might get answers such as, “I will feel happy” or “It will be fun.” Now you’ve gotten to the core desires. So the vision board can have the words “Happiness” and “Fun” on it, with pictures of new bikes and anything else the child thinks may create the experience of happiness and fun. Then, on the bottom of the vision board can be written something such as, “I gratefully receive this or something better.”

If there is one thing I have learned, it is that the universal imagination is much bigger than my individual imagination. How wonderful it would be to learn that at an early age! You can give your child the opportunity to learn this by helping him/her to create vision boards in this way. Then, encourage your child to be on the lookout for surprising ways that happiness and fun may show up. And to make the experience even more powerful, ask your child to share, at the end of each day, any experiences of happiness and fun that were manifested that day. How marvelous it will be for your child to grow up empowered to recognize ALL the abundance that shows up, rather than missing it because it doesn’t look the way they expected it to.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Empower Your Child with Intention Setting

Setting positive intentions for the day is another important habit to make part of your morning routine. This practice should be established as something that is done in accordance with a regular routine and not squeezed in wherever it might fit into your morning. For example, you might set intentions everyday while having breakfast together, or while traveling to school. Or you might prefer to have intention setting be an activity that is not associated with any other activity. Some people like to give intention setting a feeling of sacredness by incorporating elements of ritual such as candle lighting. It’s not important how you do it. What’s important is that you do it consistently so that it becomes a habit.

If possible, I recommend that daily intention setting be something the whole family does together. While the children are still learning the process, it might be a good idea for you to go first so that you can model how to state an intention and engage in visualization. As each family member has their turn, the other members can support an individual’s intention by joining in with visualizing it.

Now, the real important question, and the one that stumps many parents, is: What kinds of daily intentions are good to encourage children to set? It can be a challenge to inspire children to have faith in their own power to create and to manifest their dreams while, at the same time, keeping it real. The reality is that we don’t always get exactly what we desire. One of the key things about manifestation is letting go of outcomes. When you are able to let go of outcomes and be open to receiving what you are envisioning or something better, you will often be surprised by something showing up that is far better than what you imagined. It’s important to understand that much of what we desire represents strategies that we have come up with to meet more core desires. For example, in my children’s book, Gracey’s Desire, Gracey, whose core desires are for love and belonging, creates a vision of a particular home and family that she wants to manifest. What shows up for Gracey doesn’t look exactly like what she had envisioned but it fulfills her core desires in a way that is better than what she had imagined.

A good way to guide children to focus on core desires is to begin by asking the question, “What good do you want to invite into your life today?” It may help, especially with younger children, to give them a list of some examples, such as: Once they have decided what kind of good they want to invite in, have them state it as an affirmation such as, “Today I am inviting the goodness of ____ into my life.” Or, it could be said as simply as, “Today I will have (or, experience) ____.” Next, have them spend some time imagining themselves having that experience in their day. Ask, “How do you imagine having ___ in your day?” Now we’re getting into the realm of strategies. For example, your child might say, “I see myself experiencing joy when I score a goal.” Younger children may need you to lead them through a guided visualization, while older children may prefer to have their own private visualization. And, to reinforce letting go of outcomes in terms of strategies, always end by saying, “I am so grateful for this experience or something better.”

For very young children, it is best to stick with just one general intention for every day, such as being happy. You, or they, could draw a picture of them with a big happy face. When the time comes for your intention setting routine, simply take out the picture and say something like, “Here is Sarah feeling happy. How does Sarah feel today?” Then you can vision with the child as you approach various junctures of the day such as, “I see happy Sarah having breakfast. I see happy Sarah sitting in her car seat. I see happy Sarah playing at the park,” etc.

Teens can engage in setting intentions for their state of being. This is significant because true success is more about who we are than what we have. To support teens in setting this type of intention, you can provide a list of possibilities such as those included in the following chart. Have your teens choose one to three traits that they intend to express that day. Then ask them, “How do you intend to be today in order to create a great day?” They can answer the question by affirming, “Today, I intend to be… happy, helpful, courageous, truthful,” etc. Some teens may prefer to engage in this activity on their own, but encourage them to share their intentions with you so that you can support them by visualizing them living out their intentions throughout their day.
To complete your morning intention setting routine, everyone could write or draw their intentions on an index card to be carried with them as a reminder throughout the day. (Teens sometimes like to write theirs on their hands or inner arms).

The time it will take to set intentions in this manner will vary and depend upon the number of family members participating. Consistency is the key. To develop life-long habits it is important for you to create a morning routine that allows for the time you will need to do this. New routines can be challenging in the beginning, but remember, once they have been established, it will likely be the children who insist upon following them. Your commitment to this routine for your family will demonstrate to your children the value of setting positive daily intentions and help them to establish a habit that will empower them to create happy successful lives.

Do you have any intention setting routines of your own that you'd like to share? Or, if you try any that I've suggested, I'd love to hear your feedback.

Next posting will be more about core desires and how to create vision boards with children.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Empower Your Child with Routines for Developing Empowering Habits

The Law of Attraction and other related principles can be abstract concepts for children to grasp. Therefore, it is far more effective to support children with constructing a habit life that positively engages these principles rather than to try to instruct them about the principles and how they work. The idea is to establish routines in your family life that help everyone to operate from positive thought in order to manifest positive experiences; routines that keep everyone focused on gratitude, success, and setting positive intentions. This is important because, for children, real learning comes through exploration, testing things out, seeing what works, and trying again. In other words, the most powerful way for children to learn about the Law of Attraction is through experiencing its positive effects in their lives. As they mature, they will develop more understanding of the cause of those effects.

Another reason for developing routines for using the conscious creation tools that I will be sharing on this blog is that children thrive on routines. Routines fulfill their need for stability. They feel confident and secure when they know what to expect and what is expected of them. So children tend to naturally embrace routines once they are established.

Children naturally develop habits because habits create a structure that children feel safe within. And many of the habits that children develop are based upon their family’s routines. Along with those habits will grow beliefs based upon the experiences that manifest through habitual patterns of thought. And those beliefs that are formed in childhood are what subconsciously affect our thought patterns and, therefore, our experiences, throughout our lives. So just imagine what it could mean to the life of your child to have daily routines that include regularly engaging in specific forms of positive thought. To be consistently creating and growing positive thought magnets.

The importance of a positive morning routine cannot be overstated. The experience of the first hour of the day sets the tone for the rest of the day. So it is really important to have morning routines that create an experience of ease rather than the pressured experience of rushing around to get ready for the day. I recommend that lunches be prepared and clothes get laid out the night before, and that parents plan to rise before the children with enough time to get themselves ready for the day so that they can focus on supporting the children with their routines once they get up. You want to be available to support them with loving, positive energy. As a teacher, I have made these suggestions to the parents of my students for many years and have had the pleasure of hearing them report to me what an important difference doing these things made in their lives. I only wish I had had this wisdom for myself when I was raising my own children!

Since the first routine of every day is waking up, imagine how powerful it would be to have your first thought upon waking be a positive, affirming thought; your first feeling a positive emotion. We can provide this kind of an experience for young children by waking them up with a gentle touch and with a gentle voice whispering expressions of love and positive expectation. For example, instead of pulling the covers off and yelling, “Time to get up,” you might take a moment to sit on the edge of the bed, gently touch your child, and softly say something such as, “Good morning sweetheart. I am so happy to see you this morning. I love you so much. It’s time to wake up and share this beautiful day with me.” Another way to gently, joyfully awaken a child is to sing or play a recording of a special good morning song.

Once your children are able to read, you might consider leaving love notes for them to find first thing in the morning. Notes that specifically express what you love about them. For example, you might leave a note on the bathroom mirror that says, “Good morning, Josh. I love you. I love your laugh. What do you love about yourself today?”

Next week I will share some more ideas for morning routines. Do you have any routines in your family that support your family with getting the day off to a positive start? I'd love to hear about what works for you.

Monday, June 8, 2009


“Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” The Bible – Proverbs 22:6

People all over the world today are awakening to the knowledge that we have the power to consciously create our lives through choosing our thoughts. This concept is often referred to as The Law of Attraction. Simply put, The Law of Attraction is a principle of like attracting like. The way that we experience this law is through the manifestation of a physical reality that is like our metaphysical reality. In other words, the things that we consistently think about are the very things that show up in our actual experience.
Imagine our thoughts as magnets that attract things like themselves. Now, imagine that every time you repeat a thought, the magnet and its power gets bigger. This means that the more you focus on a particular thought, the more powerful that thought magnet becomes to pull the very things you are thinking about into your life. This is true no matter what the nature of the thoughts. Positive thoughts attract positive experiences. Negative thoughts attract negative experiences.

This is why many adults who become aware of the principal of the Law of Attraction are inspired to work at replacing long-held negative or limiting thought patterns with new positive and empowering patterns of thinking. This requires commitment to an intention to be aware of negative thinking and to consciously replace it with positive thinking. And, if you are one who has been working at shifting your thinking in this way, you know that it is no small effort. The good news is that, with consistent practice, positive thinking eventually becomes more of a habit than negative thinking. In other words, we begin to habitually operate from positive thought as our natural way of being.

Now, imagine what it would have been like to grow up in the habit of positive thinking. Go ahead; take some time to actually consider this. Do you see yourself as experiencing life with more confidence? More success? More joy? What a gift that would have been!
As adults who have awakened to the principle of the Law of Attraction, we are in a position to give our children the gift of growing up in the habit of attracting what they consciously want out of life. They can experience life as their own creation, rather than as something that seems to just happen to them. We can empower them to create the experience of positive living. I cannot imagine a greater gift to give to a child. Can you?

I want to support you with giving the gift of empowerment to your children. Therefore, I will be posting a series of blogs with powerful insights and practical ideas that will help your children develop habits that will empower them for a lifetime. As an experienced life coach, I understand the tools that empower people to create the lives that they want. As a mother and grandmother, with a degree in child development and more than 20 years of experience teaching children, I understand how to make these tools work for all ages. It is my great desire that this blog will inspire you and empower you to empower your children. I hope that you will join me, and share your wisdom as well. Next week's post will be titled: Empower Your Child with Routines for Developing Empowering Habits

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dare to Believe in a Child

The other day, I met an extraordinary child outside of the supermarket. As I approached the entrance to the store, a boy of about 10 stepped up and said, “Hi, my name is Joshua and I have written a comic book. Would you like to buy a copy?” Impressed by his confidence, I stopped to take a look at Josh’s book. The artwork was pretty good, and he definitely had a captivating storyline, replete with interesting details, good dialog, and a cliffhanger to leave the reader wanting more. But what impressed me even more than his work was Josh’s vision. Here’s what he wrote on the last page:

Thank you for your support in my comic book business. Since I left you intrigued with my story, you should go to my email address and leave your contact information so my parents (employees) can let you know when the next issue is coming out. Please take my story as an inspiration in your life that you can do anything you want as long as you work hard for it.

Now, here is a boy who knows what he wants and believes that he can create it. And he also has parents who believe. How do I know this? Well, the fact that they have signed on as his “employees” to help him with his business is a pretty clear demonstration. Not only are they managing his email, but they probably help with photocopying and putting his books together, and, most impressive of all, mom was spending her Saturday afternoon sitting outside of a supermarket to support her son as he boldly took action to manifest his dream.

You know that old saying, “Behind every successful man is a strong woman”? Well, I believe that behind every successful child is someone who believes in him/her. Researchers in the field of education have a strong base of empirical data that demonstrates the power that teachers’ expectations have upon the success of their students. In a famous study conducted in the ‘60s (Rosenthal, Robert & Jacobson, Lenore, Pygmalion in the Classroom; Teacher Expectation and Pupils Intellectual Development, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1968), students with varying initial IQ scores were randomly selected to be identified to their teachers as students that could be expected to do well. At the end of the school year, those who the teachers thought would do well did more than twice as well as the average student.

Now, if a teacher’s expectations can have that much of an impact upon a child, imagine the kind of power parents can have to affect their child’s success. As a teacher with more than 20 years of experience working with children, I have seen this power demonstrated with both positive and negative effects. Knowing the power that I have as a teacher, I have always chosen to believe in my students’ potential. However there have been times when it was difficult for my faith in a child to overcome the negative expectations of a parent. As a reading specialist, I work with children who are having difficulty learning to read. So often, when I speak to the parents, they tell me a story about how they themselves struggled with reading, or with academics in general, so they expect that their child will have a similar experience. When I am able to convince the parents that their child has the ability to learn, and they change their expectations, I always see a shift in the child’s beliefs about him/herself, which results in the experience of greater success.

For a dramatic example of the power of a parent’s faith in a child, I recommend reading the autobiography of Dr. Ben Carson (Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, Zondervan, 1996). It is the story of a boy who, despite being teased in elementary school for being stupid, overcame the odds and became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center. And standing behind Ben, every step of the way, is his mother, who refuses to let him believe he is dumb, sets high expectations for him and his brother, and supports their achievements with tenacious faith that stands firm even in the face of her sons’ own doubts.

Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, or anyone that has any kind of a relationship with a child, I want you to know that your faith in that child is more powerful than you can imagine. Your faith in a child’s ability to succeed has the power to manifest the kind of self-confidence that will empower them to make their dreams come true. Your faith in the lack of a child’s ability to succeed has the power to hold them back. How will you use your power?

Does your child have a dream, a desire, or an ambition? Will you dare to believe in your child's dreams? What if your six-year-old daughter told you that she intended to sell her crayon drawings from a stand in the front yard? Would you discourage her from trying, believing it unlikely that anyone would stop and pay money for her artwork? Would you be afraid of her feelings being hurt if her drawings didn’t sell? Or would you dare to support her self-confidence, set-up the stand, and advertise to the neighbors? That’s what the mom of one of my first grade students did, and that little girl sold twenty dollars worth of drawings at two dollars apiece.

And what if your child doesn’t have a dream? What if, like Ben Carson, he does not believe in himself? Will you dare to believe? And will you do everything in your power to help your child learn to believe in himself? The way to do that is to do just what Ben Carson’s mom did – set high expectations and provide every opportunity for him to experience success. Success breeds confidence and motivates us to strive for more success. What kinds of opportunities can you create for your child to experience success? You can start small, celebrate every accomplishment, and watch how your child’s ambitions grow with his confidence. Your faith will surely grow as well and, when it does, the possibilities will just keep getting bigger.

If you have an inspiring story about how faith in a child has made a difference, or about how a child has inspired you, please share it here.

I can't wait to hear your thoughts and be inspired by your stories.

~Kare Castle