What a child sees, hears and feels on a consistent basis creates a blueprint for how they view themselves and how they respond to the world around them. Over time and repetition, our subconscious mind, which controls 95% of what we do, becomes programmed with beliefs and values that then silently guide us throughout life.
Our subconscious mind is very literal and sees the beliefs it holds as its ‘safe’ zone. It, therefore, obediently keeps in alignment with these beliefs and makes sure that we behave in a way that is in alignment with them too.
If a child is consistently put down, there is a strong chance that they will become programmed with a belief that they are not good enough. They will then likely act in a way that perpetuates this belief and will see the world through a lens that is influenced by it. They become like an energetic jigsaw piece that only fits scenarios and people that validate their inner programming. For example, later in life they may find themselves surrounded by critical people who make them feel ‘not good enough’, or they may find themselves in situations where they feel inadequate and less than.
Likewise, if a child is consistently praised for their efforts and surrounded by acceptance, the contrary is likely to happen and this child is likely to grow into an adult who reacts to the world in a way that reflects a belief that they are good enough. They are more likely to have a ‘can do’ attitude and find themselves in situations where they are respected and valued.
If these two people with opposite beliefs were to walk into a room together, they would probably move in different circles and have a very different view of what was going on. One might see a larger-than-life character and think that that person was full of themselves, yet the other might think that the exact same person was inspirational. It’s not that the person in question behaved differently in front of them both, it’s that each person sees him or her through a different lens that is influenced by the beliefs that they hold deep down inside. This is why we all connect with different people in life and react differently to situations.
As previously stated, the subconscious mind is very literal, so it is important that we take note of the messages that are being given to children through our consistent words and actions. None of us are perfect and we all have bad days. However, how we consistently act is crucial and will help lay the foundation for how a child moves forward in life.
Quite often we don’t even realise that what we think are positive actions, can actually programme children with beliefs that could hold them back. A very simple example is this: If we teach a child that they have to colour within the lines, we are also teaching them that perfection is important. If a child has a belief that they have to be perfect, then their subconscious mind will do everything it can to stop them failing. In order to reach our brilliance and succeed in life we have to step out of our comfort zone and risk failure. A child doesn’t learn to walk straight away. They fall many times before they take that first step. Success is the same. A person will fail many times before they have their breakthrough moment. Therefore it is crucial that children are programmed to see failure as a positive stepping stone to their goals. If they are programmed for perfection, how are they ever going to fulfil their potential?
Granted, the colouring example is extreme. However, I hope you can see what I mean about looking at the literal message that is being programmed into our children’s minds. By simply tweaking the way we say things we can ensure that we are planting the right seeds:
‘I wonder if you can stay in the lines? It takes time to learn how to do that though so don’t worry if you go out of them because it will still look beautiful’.
In this sentence we are giving children a goal, explaining that it takes time and practice (so preparing them for failure) and then most importantly we are allowing them to still feel accepted and appreciated when or if they ‘fail’.
We are all doing our best and we all want the children in our care to thrive and succeed. By understanding how the mind works we can ensure that our actions and policies support every unique child to be programmed with positive beliefs and values. This will then lay the foundation for a happy and fulfilled life and give them a blueprint for success.
About the author
Stacey Kelly is a former teacher, a parent to 2 beautiful babies and the founder of Early Years Story Box, which is a subscription website providing children’s storybooks and early years resources. She is passionate about building children’s imagination, creativity and self-belief and about creating awareness of the impact that the Early Years have on a child’s future. Stacey loves her role as a writer, illustrator and public speaker and believes in the power of personal development. She is also on a mission to empower children to live a life full of happiness and fulfilment, which is why she launched the #ThankYouOaky Gratitude Movement.