Recently, I watched an episode of Oprah where she spoke with Pastor Joel Osteen. Now, I wouldn’t call myself a deeply religious person, but I was very moved by his message. The focus of the discussion was the statement, “I Am…” and the impact that those two small words can have on one’s life. As I listened, it reminded me of my life and parenting my TBP.
One of the most important experts that we have seen regarding my precious boy is Dr. Steven Curtis. Dr. Curtis works with highly gifted children that for one reason or another are not living up to their full potential. When we went to Dr. Curtis, we were feeling hopeless and frustrated.
Until this visit, ALL of our energy had been focused on the struggles and challenges. Until this visit, I hadn’t even thought of another way to approach the problems that were going on at home and at school. I used the phrase “I Am” often in sentences like…”I am frustrated with the school!” ” I am exhausted by his behavior!” “I am scared for his future!” As I said these “I Am” statements, it became my truth. Over time, I could see his attitude solidifying…like a hard shell forming around himself. At this point, I had been an educator for 20 years, but I had run out of ideas to help my own son.
The minute that we started working with Dr. Curtis, there was a paradigm shift. He explained the importance of spending at least the same energy on developing my TBP’s strengths and interests as we had been on “fixing” the problems. Before the visit, we read his book (see my resource list on the home page) and had a phone consultation with this highly energetic and bright thinker. He challenged us to think about our current situation in a completely different way…in a positive way. A way where our thoughts and beliefs changed and we saw my son begin to change his own thinking about himself.
Throughout the work, Dr. Curtis helped my TBP create his own “life story” that described who he was with a positive focus but acknowledging the challenges. To this day, we believe that this life story is important to my son and once in a while we hear him quoting parts of it. Just the other day, I overheard….”You know…I am a sensitive boy and I feel things like that deeply.” I also heard him say that he is creative and talented even though some things are still challenging. This self-reflection seems to me to be on target and very mature.
Pastor Osteen reminded me about the power of words and the importance of declaring to the world (and to ourselves) the strengths instead of the typical focus on the blemishes. While I am helping my son develop positive “I Am” messages about himself, I am also creating ones for myself…
“I am a patient parent”
“I am a good role model”
“I am able to solve problems calmly”
“I am focusing on the good in people”
Trust me…not all of these statements come easily for me! If you know me well, you know which ones are particularly challenging!