When parents and teachers talk about the need for good self-esteem, they usually mean that children should have “good feelings” about themselves. For young children, this also refers to the degree they feel accepted and valued by the adults and peers who are important to them.
A child with a healthy sense of self-esteem feels accepted and loved, is not afraid of making a mistake, and knows that the important adults in their life would go out of their way to make sure they are safe and well. On the other hand, children with low self-esteem do not feel accepted and loved, are afraid of being wrong, and are not sure the important adults in their lives would go out of their way to ensure their safety and well-being.
It is important to remember that “self-esteem” is not something that magically appears out of thin air. It grows from our early childhood experiences. In the first six years of life we acquire our fundamental beliefs about life and ourselves merely by observing the behaviors, attitudes, and reactions of our parents, siblings, and peers. This is not a thinking process, but rather an automatic download or an experience similar to “cut and paste.” Once our beliefs are acquired they will color our perceptions about life and ourselves for the rest of our life, unless we actively change them in our subconscious mind.
Living with the belief that you are flawed, inadequate, or undeserving can wreak havoc on your health and your ability to succeed. On the other hand, if given opportunities to discover the faultiness of your perceptions and an opportunity to change those core beliefs, you can change your whole life. Self-initiated, hypnotic-like practices, like the drawing activities in the ICWIB! Program, are a simple and very effective way to change old beliefs that are stored in our subconscious, because they take the brain into a relaxed and receptive state, which allows for the easy observation and transformation of inaccurate thought patterns and beliefs.
Learning to meet challenges is important, but providing opportunities for a child to discover a sense of balance and their own uniqueness can help them develop a good sense of self. Unfortunately, we live in a performance-driven society where that type of development is being rushed or overlooked. The end result is similar to taking a cake out of the oven before it is fully cooked––it falls! It fails! It never reaches it full potential!
Many years ago I taught art in both homeschooling and traditional classrooms. During this time I found myself becoming concerned about the children and their future because of all of the negative beliefs and perceptions they had about themselves and life. It was from these observations and my concern that the idea of the ICWIB! Program began to grow inside of me like a seed.
Years later when I was writing Passage of Change, A fable based on the research of Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. my ideas began to crystalize and the program took on a solid scientific structure. That was almost 14 years ago. I am happy to say that almost every week now I hear stories from parents and teachers about how the ICWIB! Program is helping their students or children learn to self-regulate, restore balance, and approach life in a more positive manner. This in turn is also affecting their social, emotional, and cognitive development.
If you would like to explore the I Create What I Believe! Program more fully, we invite you to explore some of the ICWIB FREE art activities and videos.