Recently my son came home and needed help finishing a homework assignment. He was being asked to write a poem (ugh! From him) with the title “I Am.” As I was trying to coax some kind of interest from my 11-year-old to share information about himself I was perplexed by how much difficulty he was having, don’t we all have a million things to say about who we are??? And then it dawned on me how this kind of introspection is not really taught to young people not to mention supported by society and especially if you are a boy. I then considered how person-centered skills support this process helping people learn about themselves and communicate what they learn with others. So, I sat with him and asked him the questions we use to develop a one page profile. Now we were getting somewhere. What is important TO him? Having fun with his friends, his dogs, playing Legos. What is important FOR him? Going to school, eating broccoli, brushing his teeth. How best to support him? Don’t make fun of him, let him finish his homework at school, be patient with him, he hates upsetting people. With this small amount of information, we then went back and explored it a bit more.
I asked, are you a fun friend? YES! Are you a dog lover? YES! Are you a Lego builder? YES! Are you a student? YES! Are you a vegetarian? YES! Are you conscientious about your teeth? YES! Are you creative, kind, hardworking? Yes, yes, yes!
Later that day, after he completed his I Am poster, he shared with me “I didn’t even know I was all those things, I thought I was just a kid, cool.”
I responded, “Oh my dear, you are SO MUCH more!”