It was a rainy day but you would never have been able to tell by the smiling faces and bright-eyes on the children who walked into the Prince Charles School gymnasium earlier this month. These 9- and 10-year-olds were there to participate in the Empowered Me Leadership Program which helps facilitate self-discovery and allow them to evolve into leaders at their school. The program does this by building the students’ own self-confidence and self-esteem.
Harriet Tinka began the session by setting a few ground rules and received everyone’s commitment to be part of the program. The students understood that they had to listen to one another, as a form of respect, and raise their hands when they wanted to speak and participate.
During the ice-breaker activity, she asked the children’s age, grade and the answer to a question they had chosen. Questions ranged from what types of sounds they can hear at the zoo, to their favorite kind of pizza. The responses came slowly and quietly, but Harriet seamlessly moved from student to student to interact with them and share a bit about herself too. “Have you been to the zoo? Oh! My favorite animal is the elephant.”
Self-Confidence vs. Self-Esteem
“What is self-confidence?” Harriet asks. A few hands go up. “It’s when I feel confident,” says one student.
It is a difficult word to try to explain – event for adults – so Harriet explains that it is a feeling someone gets when they are able to do something well. For example, she likes to run and feels very good about herself that she can do that. However, she is unable to ride a bike and does not feel good about her ability to do that with others.
The children get excited at this nugget of information and begin to share what they were good at: “Video games,” they say. “Riding a bike!”
The next concept to explain is about self-esteem, which is likened to a treasure box. Each compliment is a gem which fills the treasure box, and sometimes the treasure box overflows with all the self-esteem someone can have. However, every now and then, some people are mean and give insults instead of compliments which is like taking out the gems in the treasure box – enough so that we sometimes close the treasure box altogether. No amount of compliments will enter the treasure box because it is now closed. So what can open the treasure box of self-esteem?
The first key to self-esteem is the feeling of belonging. Feeling a sense of community with people, friends, school and family. The second key is accomplishment, knowing that the students can do things well. And the third and final key is feeling appreciated.
Harriet then asks the children what they are grateful for in their lives. Answers are shared through creative drawings and range from the love of their pets, favorite foods, to specific articles of clothing.. Many appreciated that they could ride a bicycle!
At the end of the workshop, the children are left with a feeling of belonging to a distinct group of leaders in their school. In only a few hours, they begin to understand that they are special, valued and can help the younger students feel those same things. The children left the gymnasium with a few hugs and some great mementos to help them remember their new found lessons. With ongoing support from their teachers, students will continue to develop to become better versions of themselves.
Empowered Me aims to inspire, educate, empower, value and support all individuals to have a sense of purpose and live to their full potential through innovative, life-changing, sustainable, supportive and educational workshops. Harriet Tinka is a motivational speaker, life coach, blogger, youth supporter, entrepreneur and life enthusiast. Her passion and deepest desire in life is to help empower people of all ages to let go of their limitations and fears to be the best version of themselves. More information about her workshops can be found at www.EmpoweredMe.ca.