It’s important to learn how to deal with adversity in life, but it is just as important to learn how to create and sustain joy. Dr. Hallowell describes a cycle of five repeating steps that are childhood roots of adult happiness. He feels the five cycle program should not only go on in childhood but throughout all of life.
- It begins with Connection.
A child can begin creating joy by generating a connection in the form of unconditional love from an adult (one or both) in his/her life. This forms basic trust early on, which is important for security, safety and the desire to take risks; the can-do attitude.
- Once the connection has been established, Play can begin.
Many children today spend too much time rushing from one activity to the next and not enough time playing. When a child is playing, they are working and learning. Play builds the imagination, teaches problem solving and cooperation, and generates joy among many other valuable developmental skills.
- While playing, a child soon finds the power of Practice.
It is rare to find the child who can ride a two-wheeler the first time or begin to walk without falling. Practice makes perfect; practice becomes discipline. Practice also opens the door to learning and to receiving help, teaching, or coaching.
- After a certain amount of practice, Mastery will develop.
The cries of mastery will be heard: “I can do it!” or “Look at me!” That feeling of mastery lays the roots for self-esteem. When a child can master something she hasn’t done before, she increases her self-esteem, confidence, leadership skills, etc..
- The achievement of mastery leads to Recognition.
When children take their first steps, people cheer and take videos. When a preschooler rides a bike for the first time, he wants to do it again for others to see. It is important for a child to feel valued and recognized after mastery to promote motivation. Recognition leads to social connectedness (being validated/showing worth), which leads to motivation.
These five short steps cannot be left to chance to create “Can-Do” kids. Parents, teachers, and all others can help children create joy for lifelong happiness.