First and foremost our number one goal for kids we work with, all kids we work with, is to produce “self-efficacy”. By that we mean, “self-reliance”, “persistence”, “courage to endure adversity”, “resilience”, and “confidence”.
In order to achieve this we believe we must focus on certain aspects of a child’s makeup. Primary in our focus is “attitudes, values, and beliefs”. Secondarily, we focus on anti-social behaviors. Thirdly, we focus on personality factors. You will learn more today (probably more than you ever wanted to) on the mechanics of how we approach this change process.
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Charles Swindoll once wrote: “We cannot change the past – we cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”
We use a tool called, Thinking, Changing, Rearranging, which is really a primer on Rational Emotive Therapy developed by Jill Anderson. A major premise of this tool is not letting your emotions control your life, that facts are more important than feelings, and that you can’t control events and others, but you can control how you react to them. It’s a rare person who doesn’t get discouraged but we all must learn to endeavor to persevere to be successful.
The value of courage, persistence and perseverance has rarely been better illustrated than the life of one famous American:
At age 22 – Failed in business
“ “ 23 – Ran for Legislature and lost
“ “ 24 – Failed in business
“ “ 25 – Elected to the Legislature
“ “ 26 – Wife died
“ “ 27 – Had a nervous breakdown
“ “ 29 – Ran for Speaker of the House and lost
“ “ 31 – Defeated for election
“ “ 34 – Ran for Congress and lost
“ “ 37 – Elected to Congress
“ “ 39 – Defeated for Congress
“ “ 46 – Defeated for Senate
“ “ 47 – Defeated for Vice President
“ “ 49 – Ran for Senate and defeated
“ “ 51 – Elected for President of the USA
This is the record of Abe Lincoln.
Also, central to our approach is accountability. Choice and free will are the cornerstones of our philosophy. We believe that regardless of a child’s background they can learn to do things differently, see things as they truly are, and learn to think rationally. Unfortunately, most of the kids we work with follow Ziggy, the cartoon characters philosophy of “I like things the way they aren’t”.
We want kids to actually get better not just feel better. Good mental health is not the absence of problems; it’s learning to cope with problems rationally.