I haven’t mentioned it before in this blog (but I’ve now added it into my official and unoffical Abouts): I help people with Neuro Linguistic Programming. It’s something I’ve been doing for nearly a decade, having sessions with people almost weekly, and somehow in the last month or two it has become official – I opened a practice. It’s something I’ve intended to do for years because I and the people I work with are so nourished by it, but a peculiar set of circumstances combined to make it happen.
This year, my daughter started play school. Of course, I offered the teachers a chance to learn some NLP language to help them communicate more easily and get better results from their students. They were excited to do it but could only fit in a lecture in October. In August, my daughter began to be bullied in school. I was right there when it started. The two three year olds began making nasty, exclusionary comments to her while we were sitting at the play-dough station. I guess they didn’t connect that an adult might not approve. In the moment, I told them that what they were saying was unkind, and would they like someone to talk or treat them that way; but inside I was reeling. I knew it wasn’t nearly enough. I had to do some research and figure out how to deal with this. I spoke to the teacher before I left. She has an excellent role-playing game specifically for this kind situation, based on getting kids to feel empathy for others, which we both felt would help.
It was good, and it was not enough. After a week or two, my daughter did not want to go to school at all. It got so bad that she threw up in class and I had to take her home. Fortunately the school holidays began and she was able to take a break while I did my best to figure things out. Well, my Google research showed me that there are plenty of interventions for older kids. I could find nothing for three year olds; if something is out there, I did not come across it. I did discover Mark Shepard, who practices NLP in the US. He writes songs for kids, has a book out and does processes in schools with older children. His work is inspiring and he was kind when I reached out to him; however, he had nothing I didn’t already know about for children the age of my daughter.
I had to do something, so I did. I wrote a song specifically for three year olds called Powerful, which, combined with dance movements corresponding with Amy Cuddy’s power poses, explains to a child HOW to deal with bad, sad, scared and mad emotions and to feel confident—actually, powerful—instead. My producer (I sing too), Jonathan Shaw, helped me put chords and music to the big brass band I was hearing in my head and he produced it. My daughter loved it. My 18 month old son twirled around the room to it. It was a great start, and it helped; by itself it wasn’t enough. I spoke to the school psychologist and she suggested I write a disassociated story with animals bullying / being bullied. I thought, ‘Yes! And if I connect it with the song and actions, that should be powerful enough to turn her around.’
Well, it was. My daughter and I sat on my bed and together we wrote the story, specific enough for her and general enough to fit into anyone’s experiences. I used subtle turn-around NLP language in it. My husband and I then read the story with her with the song and actions, once in the evening and twice before school the next morning. We played and sang the song in the car on the way to school. The results were nothing less than phenomenal. She is fine in class now, because she knows how to deal with her own feelings. She knows she is powerful – and we emphasize, in the story, that powerful people find it very easy to be kind and gentle and to share.
A week or two after that I gave the NLP language lecture to the teachers and shared the Powerful system with them. I am delighted to report that they were excited and enthusiastic and all wanted copies to use in the classroom. At that point I asked Karin Arbuthnot, an illustrator whose work I admire, to come on board and illustrate the book. That’s happening now… you can see a rough working copy example below.
At the same time that this was occurring, I was coaching a friend using NLP and she remarked, “You should really do this professionally.”
I admitted that I’d wanted to officially open a practice for many years. We agreed that maybe that time was now.
“Just add NLP to your website and I’ll send people to it,” she said.
I gave it some thought, then redesigned the entire site to reflect my love affair with words, be they written, spoken or sung.
It’s about two months since the first bullying incident and my daughter still sometimes has ‘I want mommy to be with me’ minutes when we arrive at the classroom; but those are normal for any child and I use NLP language as much as I can with her to help during those times. She sometimes pushes me out the door, too.
My life is wonderfully crowded with good things right now—I have two lectures coming up on NLP language for parents, respectively on Friday 20th and 27th November (in Johannesburg, contact me if you want to come) which will also feature the Powerful system; I have two NLP clients, one another three year old, coming for a private session, and another who is eleven, who needs a little help adjusting to a very academic school; another nursery school is also eager for the lecture early next year.
The AmaZizi book is very nearly there (two more sessions, Jongisilo!) and I’m consulting on publishing on Friday. And I’m really, really excited about Powerful. As soon as Karin is finished with the illustrations, I’ll create a Youtube video containing instructions, the song and the story, so that all parents and teachers around the world can use it and as many children as possible can benefit. Of course there will be the book and song combination available to buy too for those who want them, as soon as I can manage it.
Life and positivity is happening, friends, and I am ducking away again for a while to handle it all. I’ll keep you updated as things happen… until the next blog, then!