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Five is a Magic Number

I am always amazed at how many put downs our kids hear in a day – often followed by “just kidding” (or jk) as if that makes it all better. Negativity – even when constructive and well-intentioned – comes from so many places in a child’s day – coaches, friends, school, media, snaps, texts, comments, and sometimes, even family.

There is a lot of research around the impact of “words.” In fact, research shows it takes five positive affirmations to balance one negative comment. And, while that’s an important finding for all of us, it’s particularly important for our kids’ confidence and self esteem. In other words, five is our magic number.

At YSSC, we call this speaking words of life. “Words of Life” – a term coined by our good friend Tommy Nixon, CEO of Urban Youth Workers Institute – are designed to affirm, to include, to acknowledge, to praise, to challenge, and even to surprise and delight a camper when they think no one else is looking.

At camp, speaking words of life might look something like this:

  • I’m so glad you came to camp! We’ve been waiting for you!
  • I am proud of your persistence today.
  • Thank you for being my new friend.
  • I like how you laugh (or share or listen or never gossip)

Remembering The Power of Five

Speaking words of life to your kids at home requires nothing more than a little practice and self discipline. Words are powerful – and while negative words may tear down, think of what the power of five positive ones can do to build up.  Use C.A.M.P. as your guide!

  • Catch them doing something good
  • Affirm their successes
  • Make them stronger by speaking your family’s own words of life to them everyday
  • Praise persistence and practice daily
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