I WAS both horrified and delighted the day Nicholas brought the PosLaju receipt and pen for me to sign.
Horrified, because I was unaware that my son had opened the front door and grill and gone out of the house (never mind that it was still within the compound).
Delighted because it was the first time he had done something right without me prompting him.
I ran out to the postman, a bemused looking young man, and thanked him for being kind.
To this day, I regretted not asking the postman his name and how he managed to get my son out of the house and take the receipt and even to get me to sign it.
I can only surmise that the young postman, with an intention of honest belief in my son’s capability to carry out the errand successfully, had empowered Nicholas and thereby a task well done.
In Brain Gym, we call it the language of intent, meaning the way we phrase words and our body language can bring about positive results.
“The way we say something has an effect on the other person’s neurological system”, taken from the book written by Cecilia Koester, Interfacing Brain Gym with Children who have Special Needs. Koester also stated that, “Modern linguistics has taught us that language, in its essence, is a special kind of code that is directly related to meanings in our mind. This intricate code is what gives us the ability to use language to communicate in very powerful ways.”
So if the postman had mumbled or sounded angry, Nicholas would have responded to the stress and been affected by it. In which case, the PosLaju receipt would not have been delivered by my son as he would not have interpreted the message correctly.
The intention in the language had motivated and given Nicholas the confidence to run the errand correctly.
Motivation, the all important factor to success and almost everything, more so with people having special needs or learning difficulties because life in itself can be a great dampener for them.
The famous Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs is all about motivation and it applies to everyone.
So, for Nicholas, when the postman gave him a job with the complete belief that he could do it, he probably felt respected and empowered and that led to his spontaneity in getting the job done which fulfilled his Self-Actualisation Needs.
I have a story about the power of motivation, told to me by Professor Chuang Chiung Hui, formerly with Provident University Taiwan and now a consultant at Shin-Wan-Ai Centre, Taichung, Taiwan, a centre dedicated to helping children with special needs.
She believes motivation is maybe the most important factor to help people with special needs achieve their dreams or just to have a better quality of life.
At the centre, one of the activities they do is for teachers to sit around a student. The student is asked to name his or her dream, any dream. And what happens next will be for the teachers and student to discuss the steps that need to be taken before the dream can be fulfilled.
Professor Chuang shared how motivation can kickstart a journey of self-discovery for children with special needs.
One student’s dream was to be a rock singer. So the student and teachers discussed the first step towards that journey.
First, they watched a video of the student’s favourite rock band. Then it was a discussion to decide what a rock singer needs – to take singing and musical instrument classes…to practise dance steps, stage set up and so on until the day came when the student performed on stage.
The journey as they say is important because along the way the student learnt about discipline, respect, creativity, working hard, being flexible and maybe most importantly, that he can achieve his dream and, successfully. He has the motivation and the teachers have the intention to see him achieve his dream.
The story is about using motivation and intention to create the change we want.
So the next time you want to say something, think about your intention and the language used.
In Brain Gym, we say “I do my best” and not “I try” or, “I haven’t succeeded yet” and not “ I failed”. We also say “When” and not “If”.
If you want to learn more about Brain Gym’s language intention or attend one of the courses, go to www.breakthru.academy and on the motivation front, Dignity & Services is setting up a baking centre, called Baking With Dignity, for young adults with special needs. Go to www.dignityandservices.org for more information.