As we look at how to give our students the skills and characteristics needed to come out of the pandemic in a way that will launch them towards success, one way to do that is to help them become optimistic people.
Many of us have the misconception that optimism is a personality trait and that we are born seeing the glass half full or half empty. That simply is not the case. Like the other characteristics we have focused on so far this year (gratitude and resilience), optimism is something that can be taught. Kids and even adults can learn to develop optimism and have an optimistic outlook. This is really good news because optimism is a key characteristic found in “successful” people. Optimistic people are more resilient, less likely to give up, are more confident, and have a much stronger sense of control.
In the coming weeks we will look at specific steps we can take to encourage optimism in our students, but the first thing we need to talk about is that one of the most important ways to develop it in our children is to model it for them.
As is so often the case when it comes to teaching our kids, the place to start is with ourselves. Let’s be intentional in being optimistic, limit our complaining (at least in front of our kids), stop the negative talk and comments around our kids, see setbacks as problems to solve, and be more positive about the future. This does not mean that we should put our heads in the sand and be unrealistic as that is not healthy modeling either, but we can be intentional in showing our kids how to be optimistic.
So when we see the proverbial “glass” this weekend, let’s do our best to see it half full–not half empty.