The English writer and philosopher, Aldous Huxley, once said, “Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.” I imagine every parent thinks their loved ones are remarkable and they would be correct.
Every child has unique character strengths and abilities that allow them to express their individuality in a social environment. It is what makes them "special". As parents, we begin to notice differences in our children when they are quite young. Do you remember when you discovered your child loved to listen to music, to climb or to build with blocks? These may have been slight hints as to your child's future interests, and perhaps later in life they might become a musician, a mountain climber or an architect.
Ask a child what makes them special and you may have responses such as “I wear red hair clips”, “I am the fastest runner in my class” or “I do magic tricks”. These simple phrases are descriptive of what a child believes separates them from others. They help the child define their individuality from everyone else around them. They affirm the child's belief in being able to accomplish something well in life.
So how can we help children become remarkable in their own way?
Read Books which Inspire
Begin by reading books about being special or unique to your child. One of my favourites is Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. The book is a story of how we go through life facing many thrills, challenges and adventures but, most importantly, it encourages us to bravely face our future because we are special. This is a book that can help a child get excited about their potential.
Discuss Your Child's Talents and Abilities
Reading the Dr. Seuss book together can lead to a discussion of your child's uniqueness. Afterwards, point out how they can sing, dance, write, draw or help others well – any of their talents – and how it is a great achievement. This will help them believe in themselves and their special abilities.
Celebrate, Affirm, and Validate Your Child
As your child continues to grow, celebrate their achievements in school, in sports, at home and in other important areas in life. Let them know how you view their unique talents through affirmative words. For example, saying, "You amaze me by how quickly you can solve those maths problems" goes a long way in helping your child realise they have a special skill. Give your child the tools they need, through your validation, to inspire their uniqueness in life.
At Yateley Manor there are no ceilings on learning. We do not believe in holding children back in their learning, restricting them for whatever reason. Anything could and should be possible. There have been some remarkable achievements from children in recent years and I want every child at Yateley Manor to believe they have the potential to achieve at any level.
Anne Frank. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Louis Braille. History is full of young people who astounded the world with their thoughts and creations. Every generation believes the children of the future will face difficult times but today young people are as motivated and passionate as they have ever been. Take a look at the following four examples of children being remarkable:
- When he was just 3 years old, Ryan Hickman was inspired to collect recycling in his neighbourhood after visiting a recycling plant in California. With the help of his parents he founded Ryan’s Recycling Company in 2012 and became a viral sensation for his efforts to keep plastic out of the oceans. According to his company’s website, the now 10-year-old has recycled 1107620 cans and bottles and has donated over $12,005 to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.
- Bringing a little more joy to the world is exactly what Robby Novak, also known as “Kid President”, did with his series of YouTube videos. Made with the help of his older brother-in-law, Kid President began in 2012 when Novak was just 8 years old in order to make the world less “boring” and more “awesome” by spreading messages of love and positivity. His outlook on life was inspiring, especially given that Novak has the challenge of the brittle bone disease osteogenesis imperfect. His popularity grew. After taking a break to focus on school and being a child, Novak, now 16, has started a second YouTube series, a motivational travel show focusing on children across the United States.
- For many people, particularly girls, it is frustrating not to see themselves represented in the books they read. That is exactly how 11-year-old Marley Dias felt about the books she was offered in school. She did not just want to find black female protagonists for her own reading - she wanted all black girls to have access to those stories as well. So in November 2015, she launched the campaign #1000BlackGirlBooks to collect and donate 1,000 books featuring black girls. So far she has raised over $11,000. In 2018 at age 13, Dias published her own inspirational children’s book, Marley Dias Gets It Done—And So Can You.
- The most heart-breaking effects of war are on the children who grow up amidst danger and conflict. At just 7 years old on a Twitter account managed by her mother, Bana Alabed documented living through the siege of Aleppo, Syria, in 2016, telling the world about her wishes for a childhood of peace without fear. Her accounts from the front lines gave people a first-hand look at the impact of war on children and families. Her family eventually became refugees as they were evacuated to Turkey. Alabed continued to be an advocate for peace, and in 2018 her book, Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace, about her experiences was published.
Let’s support our children to feel remarkable. They have so many strengths and interests. Let’s find the keys and unlock their passions. Why not take a moment today to tell your child they are special and inspire them to change the world.