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Build Character: Help Your Kids Discuss Outside the Box

By Jean Tracy. MSS

Parents and Teachers, are your kids afraid of taking risks? Are you afraid your kids won't develop their talents? Do they hide inside the Invisible Box?

Let's learn a fun way to help your kids risk wisely, develop their talents, and stay out of the Invisible Box. In the last newsletter I described the Invisible Box. Let me refresh your memory.

My toastmaster friend, Mike, presented a contest talk entitled "The Invisible Box." With his arms extended, he drew an imaginary box about 7' high and 3' wide. Next he stepped inside and shut its invisible door. Mike said that too many people live inside their invisible boxes. How does this apply to your kids?

.The invisible box is the place where they nurse their hurts and grudges.

.The invisible box is the place where their negative attitudes fester.

.The invisible box is the place where they make multiple excuses and hide.

Years ago I came across a super technique. I taught it to my granddaughters, Paula, age 7 and Daniela, age 5. It is called the Thomas Alva Edison Award. I told my granddaughters that Mr. Edison tried to invent the light bulb over 1,000 times. He didn't give up and he finally succeeded. Next, I showed my granddaughters two small plastic trophies I had picked up from the Dollar Store.

I told my granddaughters to share times when they worked hard to achieve something. Then I promised to give them the Thomas Alva Edison Award. That meant they could have a dime or ten pennies in their trophy cup each time they tried something hard. Paula, being older, wanted dimes. Daniela wanted pennies.

Even today we'll sit around the Sunday breakfast table. The girls know I'm going to ask them, "Did you do anything deserving of the Thomas Alva Edison Award?" They brighten up and start talking. Let's see some goals each girl achieved.


Climbed a steep rock at the REI store and reached the top.

Practiced until she could perform a backward somersault.

Received 100 points from her teacher for doing her schoolwork quietly.


Learned to do a cartwheel with one hand.

Gave a speech in front of her class.

Figured out how to do a magic trick.

See how easy it is? Over the past two years Paula and Daniela have filled their trophies to the brim many times. We love our breakfasts with the girls. So do their parents as they listen to their daughter's feats. The girls love the attention from all of us while they share their stories. It is truly a bonding experience.

Consider using this technique with your children. they'll be developing their talents, taking wise risks, and freeing themselves from the Invisible Box. Isn't this a fun way to build character?

About The Author
Jean Tracy, MSS, Edmonds, WA, USA

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