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© Gail Underwood Parker

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Focus on Fostering: Half Empty or Hall Full Life?

Children who have lost their birth families through tragedy, abuse, neglect or other circumstance have a lot that is negative in their lives.  I've talked about strategies for this before [1/18/11 and 3/22/11] but here is a mini-activity for even young kids that only takes a few minutes and can help them learn a key life lesson.  Choose a time when they are in the mood to listen and tell them you have a 5 minute challenge for them.

Tell them you are all going for a special walk.

Give them each 1 or 2  pebbles to put inside one or both of their shoes while they walk.

Give each a long lasting lollypop, hotball, or hard candy to suck on while they walk. [I've also used an ice cream cone.]

Walk for 5-10 minutes. Walk with them... outside, at a picnic area, or even around the inside of the house several times.  Judge the length of time, sweet treat, and pebble size based on the child or teen's age.

Sit down together after the walk and ask them to tell you about the walk. Talk about how they felt.  Talk about what they remember?  What did they see?  How did they like it?  What were they thinking while they were walking.   Chances are they will talk more about the stones in their shoes than the sweet candy taste in their mouth.

Talk to them about how this can show the choices we make about our lives. Everyone has hard things. Every has sweet things.  How do we choose to look at the events of our lives each day.   Do we focus on the bad things or the good things, the tough or the sweet.  Which do we spend more time thinking about? talking about? Remembering?    

Continue to remind them every once in a while about this walk experience when they hit some challenge, or get stuck on their past.  Let me know what tricks you have tried with success!

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