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From the Classroom: Nix the negativity: let positivity shine on kids
Emily Dixon.jpg

I have come to this conclusion: A lot of times we don’t lose out on opportunities because of our abilities, but because of our own personal thoughts. We either allow others to dictate our thoughts or we get stuck within our own heads with this idea that we simply can’t or won’t.

Therefore, negativity is a choice and we have to teach ourselves and our children how to make the right choice. How sad would it be to look back on your life and realize that you could have possibly missed out on an amazing opportunity not because of your lack of capability, but simply because of your mindset? Let that sink in for a minute, and then think about how our mindsets can not only affect ourselves but also the people we interact with on a daily basis. Think about who you choose to surround yourself with. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” What he is saying is the idea that when it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced – whether we want to believe it or not – by those closest to us. As a result, people who we choose to surround ourselves with affect our way of thinking, our self-esteem, and our decisions.

Of course, I do believe that everyone is their own person, but research says that we are more impacted by our environment than we choose to believe. The people you choose to surround yourself with are crucial to your success and vice versa. So if you choose to surround yourself with negativity, don’t be surprised if the negativity flows into your own life and manifests itself in more ways than one.

But what if we choose to change our mindset, not just for our own sanity but for the sake of the children who look up to us as role models?

I once saw an image of two oranges in a bowl.

One of the oranges had clearly rotted, it was almost black. The orange resting nearby also appeared to be growing mold and this was due to the rotting fruit it was in close proximity to.

This is such a real, powerful, yet simple concept. The idea that one piece of rotten fruit that is close to or touching another piece of fruit will cause it to mold and eventually rot as well.

How does this transfer into our lives? Negativity can quickly impact not just one person, but can spread to then affect countless other individuals. So where does negativity stop? It can stop with you. Kids see how we interact and speak to others, both positively and negatively. Kids pay attention to how we react, our facial expressions, our tone of voice, and the list goes on. We as teachers and parents have to set the example.

Negativity is inevitable, but the choice is still available in every situation.

We can choose to feed in to the negativity, or we can choose to walk away.

Negative influences can quickly change someone, just like the rotting fruit.

It is hard for kids to grasp the concept that people can change due to negativity, that someone they have relied on or put their trust in can abandon them because the mindset has changed. As adults, we have to be that constant in their lives. We have to show them that life is about quality, not quantity.

Let’s model for our kids the value of positive influences in our lives. Let’s be that positive light in our own circle of friends. Let’s help our kids remember this: Your circle of friends should be your biggest fans, celebrating with you when you succeed, and being the shoulder to lean on when you fall.

Life is not perfect, but life is a lot brighter and better when you choose to surrounded yourself with positivity. Tell yourself and your child that you can rise up from anything and it’s never too late to recreate yourself.

Nothing is permanent, you are not stuck, you can think new thoughts. We are a lot stronger than we may think, and the choice is yours!

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