The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Coaching yourself--Child's story

When I coach someone, I ask them to create a "child's story"--their life story told in simple language, from birth to today. I do this to understand how they hold together all the beliefs and suppositions that create their current lives. Then I shake it up so that they get to reinterpret it all in light of what they now know about themselves and the world. It is remarkable how much disempowering b.s. follows us from the weakest and most vulnerable period of our lives. Or how sad it is that we abandon the hopes and dreams of that same precious period. It is never too late to correct those errors. Never.

Write YOUR Child’s Story (max 500 words.  In language a child could understand: “once upon a time there was a boy who...”--your story of how you became the person you are.

What is implied within it about your beliefs, values, and emotional charges?

Which of these would you want your own most precious beloved child adapt into her own life?

Harlan Ellison said: “success is bringing into existence, in an adult fashion, your childhood dreams.”  

Do you agree?

If so, how can you take a step toward that goal today?


Sarah said...

Out of all the ideas I have read on your site, the ones I have found the most useful are those on the child-ancient connection. You are the first person I have read that talks about this. I lost my younger self from around the age of 16 until my mid-30s. I found her again or she found me. It isn't something I have ever tried to explain to anybody because I figured they would think I was a few cards short of a full deck. I know that her wonder at life is the source of my creativity. I know that she hasn't been happy with the relationships I have been in. Those feelings I couldn't put my finger on that told me I needed to make a change were her giving my a subtle or not so subtle nudge. I promised her that if I do ever get into a relationship again it is going to be one she approves of. I am ever so thankful you write about these things because it gives me confidence that I am not, in fact, a few cards short of a full deck. :-)

Steven Barnes said...

Sarah--labeling our internal states can be HUGELY valuable. Like labeling colors, which are not distinct things, and exist largely in our perceptions. Languaging an 'inner child" or "inner elder" is a wonderful way of seeing something clearly enough to sense damage or vacuum. People who laugh are themselves un-integrated on this level. Just smile and garden on, sweetie. They're your potatoes.