Our mind can be our greatest asset or our greatest hindrance, ‘for as he thinks, so he is’. In other words, whatever we focus on we become.
Advertisers understand this dynamic, that’s why they bombard our senses with images of their products. If our attention is caught by what they are selling, we’ll find ourselves thinking about it; our thoughts will stir our emotions and desires. If we don’t take these thoughts captive, we will soon find ourselves pursuing the product.
Likewise, our thoughts will direct our relationships, our learning, our achievements and our lifestyle choices. Sometimes the problems we face in life are a result of our thinking. That is why we should choose our thoughts carefully. If we focus on the things that irritate us about the people around us we will experience conflict and a breakdown in our friendships. If we allow our thoughts to centre on our lack of ability or our fear, we won’t succeed.
Children, like adults, often struggle with their thinking. They find themselves in a negative loop. They allow a constant barrage of negative self-talk to direct them. ‘I can’t do this…, It’s too hard, I never get it right, They’re always better than me, It’s not fair, They’re annoying me, Why can’t I…, I hate this, This is boring’. Often, children and adults alike, entertain thoughts about themselves and others that are not true. Agreeing with our wrongful thoughts and with those expressed by others is destructive to ourselves and healthy, honouring relationships with others.
Habits of Mind that are positive and life-giving need to be developed early and practised throughout our lives. For most of us, it doesn’t come easy, but the rewards are well worth the persistence in developing right thinking. The rewards will be evident in better relationships, more confidence, fewer tummy aches, headaches and miserable days.
One of the habits of mind that we teach students to develop is the ability to ‘think about their thinking’, (metacognition). Being aware of their thoughts, recognising them, and knowing when to take hold of them, when to discard them and when to let them pass through without attention is very important to our wellbeing.
Helping students learn to ‘self-regulate’ which means to recognise the state of mind they are in, and whether their thoughts are true and helpful empowers them to take control of their wellbeing and to be proactive in creating the environment in which they can thrive.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy- keep thinking about these things.