“You should bring something into the world that wasn’t in the world before. It doesn’t matter what that is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a table or a film or gardening – everyone should create. You should do something, then sit back and say, “I did that.’” – Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais is on to something here. His comment makes me think of helping children to shine. A childlike imagination helps bring all sorts of things into the world that weren’t there before.
There’s no need to say ‘well done’ and ‘very good’ and ‘you’re so clever’ at everything a child does. Recognising what they did is enough.
“I see you have built that all by yourself.”
“So, you’ve drawn a picture of a bear.”
“Thank you for putting all the books back on the shelf.”
It’s that simple.
You should recognise your own actions too. Take the time to focus deeply on what you’ve done. It adds more meaning to what’s there. If you can’t appreciate your own creations, why create them in the first place? Enjoy them, learn from them, explore them more deeply. All you need to better engage with your actions is to step back and recognise them.
You can take that appreciation to whole new levels. Like when Bianca Giaever took what a six year old said and turned it into a short film. No heaping on the praise. Simply offering a visual representation of a little girl’s thoughts. Creating. Recognising. Appreciating. It’s all there.
There are some gems from the six year old advice too:
“You should just say ‘OK. I’m fine.’ I usually let it go. I just think of something that I really like to do and just think of something else until the nervous has gone out of me.”
“Scared is scared of all the things you like.”
It’s all worth remembering.
Kids are awesome. They don’t need telling that all the time. Just recognise what they do and appreciate what happens along the way.
And that should go for everyone, by the way. Not just kids.