Published on: February 5, 2018

Creating Mindsets of Kindness

Happiness, Blessings and Good – The Lesson of Shevat

Contributed by: Esther Tarkieltaub LBS1, etlearningconnections@gmail.com

As we end the month of Shevat and look forward to Purim, I wanted to take a moment and share a beautiful thought I heard about the month of Shevat from Rabbi Efriam Twerski.

The month of Shevat is a special and important time to ensure that our homes reflect three fundamental qualities: The ש of שבט stands for שמחה – happiness and joy. We must strive to fill our homes with joy, creating a positive, tension-free environment that our spouses and children look forward to entering.

The ב in שבט represents ברכה – blessings. We have the opportunity to share our unique gifts and abilities; give blessings that uplift and inspire each other; and give of ourselves to others.

Finally, the letter ט in שבט stands for טוב – good. We must work on our belief and accept that whatever we have (or don’t have) is for the good. Every day, we need to make a conscious effort to be satisfied with whatever Hashem gives us and recognize that it is exactly what we need.

I would like to hone in on the letter ש of שבט as we are approaching the month of Adar, the month of Simcha. As parents and educators, we have a unique opportunity to bring happiness into our homes and classrooms. A supportive, positive, loving home or classroom environment permeates the hearts of our children and students.

In some instances, we need to change the way we raise and educate our children so that they can go on to live happier, more confident and ultimately more successful, well-balanced lives. One of our top priorities must be empowering our children to develop a positive, joyous mindset. If we plant the seeds for a positive outlook in our children today, those seeds will blossom into a joyful life of abundant opportunity.

Let’s explore the differences between an “abundant mindset” and a “lack mindset” by reviewing different ways children perceive the same reality. By identifying and becoming more mindful of the thinking patterns children fall into, we can teach them to embrace different outlooks and make empowering choices that bring them greater happiness and peace of mind.

Here are a few examples:

“Lack mindset”: I will never be able to get this. It’s not possible.

“Abundant mindset”: There is always opportunity for me to grow and learn. I’m doing just fine.

“Lack mindset”: Nobody likes me. People treat me badly.

“Abundant mindset”: I like myself. Because I like who I am, others treat me how I treat myself.

“Lack mindset”: I have to fight for my share.

“Abundant mindset”: There is plenty for everyone.

“Lack mindset”: I have to compete with others for attention.

“Abundant mindset”: I am in harmony with others.

“Lack mindset”: I have to prove myself to feel worthy.

“Abundant mindset”: I am worthy just the way I am.

“Lack mindset”: If I don’t get better grades, I will never be successful.

“Abundant mindset”: I have unique talents and gifts. As I focus on those, they get stronger.

“Lack mindset”: I can’t do it so I won’t try.

“Abundant mindset”: How do I know I can’t do it if I don’t try? I may not be able to do it yet, but with effort I will get there. I’m just not there yet.

“Lack mindset”: I have to do what others expect of me or they won’t like me.

“Abundant mindset”: Other people like me for who I am. I am free to be myself as long as I am respectful to myself and others.

“Lack mindset”: I have to live in fear of others hurting me.

“Abundant mindset”: I am safe in this world. The caregivers in my world and Hashem are watching over me.

Children who are raised and educated with a lack mindset generally experience some form of fear, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, confusion, anger, or depression as they navigate their daily life. When children are raised with an abundant mindset, on the other hand, they have a more positive, healthy outlook. When they experience challenges and hardships, they maintain self-confidence and peace of mind, and seek productive solutions.

Ask yourself: What can I do today to nurture an abundant mindset in myself? And what practical steps can I take to instill this mindset in my children or students?

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