Avoiding Destructive Creativity

I had the privilege of speaking to a group of young professional women and their mentors recently. I have been mentoring with the Young Women’s Alliance YWA Connect Program for a few years now, and I addressed mentoring through emotions and pointed out some concepts from Social and Emotional Learning (Taught in our local Austin ISD classrooms!) that can be used when dealing with strong emotions in the workplace.

In addition to these “tips from the playground,” I shared some wisdom that was both personal and hard-won.

I asked the room full of women if they considered themselves to be creative. The nods and smiles indicated to me that most of them did.

I said, “Creative people need an outlet in their lives. Whether it is creating, performing, or appreciating, the creative person who does not allow time and energy to practice, produce and perform their talents will see that need for expression come out through their relationships with other people. It may be constructive, but more often, when the drama in your soul is not being let out in positive ways, it manifests itself in negative ways.”

I will never know how many of my audience took this to heart and whether it will be on their minds until they see how it might affect them.

Have you ever had a craving to bring some drama into your life? Maybe you have picked a fight…maybe you have shunned someone as part of a group or as an individual…maybe you have found yourself nagging and nitpicking your closest friend or your partner…the list is endless when it comes to creating drama. What can you do about this urge that may have grown slowly over time and seems so irresistible or inevitable? Continue reading

Owning Your Thoughts – Social and Emotional Learning

Seedling Kids My very wise and philosophical friend Hjalmar said he had heard a quote along the way that he wanted to share with me. “You don’t own your first thought…but you do own your second.” He went on to explain that the first thought we have when something happens is often very instinctive. It can be “fight or flight” related and evoke an extremely emotional and reactive response.  

I thought about this and agreed, but added a third part to the quote. I said, “You are right. You don’t own your first thought, but you do own your second, and you definitely own your actions after that!” We both laughed, but it is so true, and it is something important we must teach our children along the way.

Dr. Stephen Covey covered this very well in his writing about proactive behavior. You can read about it at a very accessible level in his son, Sean Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.”

The Coveys captured the principle with, “You cannot control what the world does around you.  You can control how you react to it…and ultimately how you behave.” That is proactive behavior and the earlier your child grasps this, the more advantage he or she will have in the world.

Schools throughout the nation are becoming aware that it is not enough to teach the basics of education to children, particularly if they have been raised in low socio-economic or other difficult circumstances. Many of these children have not been exposed to self-control techniques, just as they have not been exposed to early childhood enrichment activities. Educators are becoming aware that in order to be taught, children need to be rested, healthy, fed, and understand how to control their emotions and behaviors. Continue reading