I had many labels growing up: rebellious, black sheep, hyper-active, wild child, naughty, picky, capricious, and EVIL, just to name a few. I was “bad.”
It seemed to me that only my dad saw good in me. My school teachers, and my friends would agree every once in a while.
Although this identity of being “a bad kid” really made me feel unloved, affirming words from others kept me from taking my life.
Of course, now I know I wasn’t BAD, even when I definitely made bad choices. Most of the time, I was just being a kid. I was just being myself.
I’ve always been spirited, strong willed, and outspoken… you know, what many parents call “difficult.” I refuse to include myself in that group of parents, not because I suffer from “better-than-thou” supermom syndrome, but because I decided in my childhood that if I ever were to have kids (not that I was planning to ever become a mom) I would accept them, and not be over critical.
When I got married and was expecting my first daughter, my quest for balance began. I didn’t want my child to think she was bad… yet I didn’t want her to think she was “all good” either, because, how would she be able to learn and grow? After all, it is from recognizing what doesn’t serve us that we get closer to the full expression of our potential.
There aren’t good kids, there aren’t bad kids… every kid has an epic battle going on in his or her mind. And when does this battle end? It doesn’t. It’s happening in your mind, and in mine, as we speak (as I write and you read).
Even though we usually read of battles between good and evil, sinners and saints, villains and heroes, this battle is not outside of us, but within us. In my experience, things are not black and white.
We are the sum of our choices…each and every one of them, but taking a wrong turn determines the path we’re on, it doesn’t determine who we are.
I think I’ll never stop cringing when someone says “your children are so good,” or “she’s a good girl,” and I don’t think I’ll get over my feelings when I hear someone call their child “bad.” It is a sensitive matter to me and it is a damaging concept that affects us as adults, too, because we create false beliefs and impose rules on ourselves that we attach our worth to.
I prayed so much that I would find the tool to teach my daughters about the power of choice and their power to create their destiny. During a visit with Mary Manin Morrissey, one of my mentors, I asked her how she taught her children about this concept. I had always admired how her children are part of her business and that is my ultimate dream, so she was the right person to ask.
She recommended Lou Austin’s book “The Little Me and The Great ME.” Her kids agreed that they still loved the book and her daughter was even using it with her own kids. I grew excited to find this book and it was NOT easy, because it is out of print.
Being the spirited, strong-willed, outspoken child that I’ve always been, I didn’t rest until I found it. The search and the wait were well worth it!
“The Little Me and The Great ME” is a thin book with a non-impressive cover. I quickly flipped through the pages and noticed that it was indeed very short, which is ideal for most little children.
When I read it to my girls, they immediately understood the opposition within each person and the existence of two paths, two forces, or two wills: the will of the natural man or woman, which the author calls The Little Me, and the will of our divine nature, which he calls The Great ME.
Each concept in “The Little Me and The Great ME” is written in simple language, presented as a secret, which was so much fun and works so well with little ones. It still doesn’t get old, and it was published in 1957!
Secret #1 There are two me’s (The Little Me acts selfishly while The Great ME chooses to be kind and loving)
Secret #2 I can choose which me I want to be (who I am is my choice)
Secret #3 I can blow out The Little ME like a candle on a cake
Secret #4 I can inhale The Great ME (#3 and #4: power of breathing)
Secret #5 The Great ME is God’s partner (we have divine nature and worth)
Secret #6 God is my partner and He is always with me (we are never alone!)
Secret #7 You cannot live without God’s air (every breath can remind us to count our blessings)
The Seven Secrets allows us to have tools beyond “good girl!“ and “good job!” and helps us praise and discipline without labeling my children.
My Little Pigeon is her mother’s child alright! Although I’ve never had a quiet baby, I’m convinced she’s the one my mom warned me about:
“You just wait..!” She said…
Do you know what I’m talking about? She’s a Little Me (pun intended!). This is very healing for me because I have an opportunity to choose a different path than dysfunction, and break unhealthy cycles.
Eliana’s grandparents on her father’s side have only seen her 3 times and have never really showed an interest in her. One day, I decided to visit them and they referred to her as “HYPER.”
I think I had to mentally blow out all my birthday candles to keep my Little Me from coming out spitting flames. Believe me – no one wants to see THAT!
Instead of unleashing my inner Maleficent, I smiled and corrected: “She’s a great explorer… very energetic and active!”
Yeah, I label my kids. I look for the unique strong qualities they possess and I guide them on how to use them. When you must label a kid, you can have your Great ME do it.
It’s empowering to know there is ALWAYS a choice about how you respond and how you react in life. The sole awareness of this profound truth can change one’s life, because it brings us to the understanding that we have the freedom to choose joy, peace, and freedom over bitterness, drama, and defeat.
No child is born “BAD” and no child turns “BAD.” We are all precious children of God: we are all beautiful and powerful, capable of love, connection, joy, and positivity. In the same sense we all experience fear, doubt, struggles, anxiety, painful awareness of our weaknesses, and occasional feelings of inadequacy.
All our emotions are useful in our life journey, as are our personality traits. If I weren’t passionate, determined, and creative, I could have never survived my childhood, I would have probably not survived the trauma of my late teen years, and I could have never transformed the dark moments that launched me into single motherhood into a journey of entrepreneurship [mompreneurship].
BothThe Little Me and The Great ME within each of us have magic to create, but remember, you get to decide who holds the stronger wand. When children choose their Little Me, we can guide them through the process and allow them to choose their best selves. It is best when we model it to them – constantly and consistently!
Your child is perfectly who she or he is supposed to be. Just know there is an epic battle in your child’s mind, and there is a battle within your mind.
You are more than the Earth suit you are wearing, you are more than your feelings, your thoughts, and your story. You have a powerful invisible nature and there are two sides to it. Which one you choose is up to you!
Guide your child toward connecting with God, self, and others… in other words, toward JOY, MEANING, and FREEDOM.
When we know our true identity and understand that we are not alone and how our divine partnership with God works, we will all make better choices, “behave” better, and develop better social skills.
Have you heard about the seven secrets before? What do you think about The Little Me and The Great ME? I’d love to hear how you teach your children to make good choices.
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM
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