Have you ever read the book, “Leonardo the Terrible Monster” by Mo Willems? In the book, Leonardo is not very good at scaring people. He doesn’t have big scary teeth and he isn’t very tall. Try as he might, Leonardo just isn’t a scary monster.
However, he decides that he is going to do something to change this. He tries to find the “most scaredy cat” kid in the world. He does his research and ends up finding a young boy named Sam.
Leonardo sneaks up on his unsuspecting victim and tries to scare him with all his might. When he was finished, Sam began to cry. “Yes!”Leonardo exclaimed. “I finally did it! I finally scared someone!”
“No, you didn’t” Sam responded. Then he goes into a large list of reasons for why he was crying. His list includes a broken action figure and a sore tummy. Poor Sam!
At this point, Leonardo reflects on his actions and makes a very important decision. He tells Sam, “It’s okay” and then gives him a hug. In the end, Leonardo and Sam become friends!
Reflection is a very important habit to develop. It helps us slow down and consider what's important in life. It puts things into perspective and reminds us how we should be spending our time.
As adults, I feel that we need to show children how to reflect. We need to teach children that there is a lot of value in slowing down and considering our words and actions. Too often, we seem to rush this process or force children to self-reflect when they don’t understand why. There needs to be an emotional connection. I certainly don’t have all the answers and will keep asking others for advice on this topic.
A neat idea I recently heard about came from Dr. Henry Cloud. In a podcast with Bob Goff, Dr. Cloud shares how he asks his children their thorn for the day (challenge) and rose for the day (highlight). This simple process encourages meaningful conversations and helps develop reflection habits.
What ideas do you have for purposeful reflection?