In Day 1 of the 21-Day Meditation Challenge: Become What You Believe by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra, Deepak states the following about beliefs: They inspire the highest fulfillment; are the foundations of life's meaning, and are about the building of self. Every student graces our classrooms with beliefs that have shaped her or his mind and body and influence their thoughts about themselves and the divine.
Beliefs imprinted in the subconscious mind since birth are the foundations that allow students to build her or his life, self-esteem, self-image, and self-worth upon. When these beliefs are in line with the established norms in our society, a student is successful and reach milestones is a timely manner; the student reaches the highest fulfillment and self-actualization. When these beliefs are countering the norms set by society, the student struggles to meeting emotional; social; psychological; and academic milestones The achievement of self-actualization is very distant in the student's field of vision. This is the student society labels as being "at-risk" for school failure and begins planning alternative establishments in the long-term.
An "at-risk" student is an individual I like to call the "Diamond-in-the-Ruff." Diamonds-in-the-Ruff hold some of the greatest human potential because they are in man-vs-man, man-vs-self, and man-vs-society conflicts that will allow them to rise out of the ruff like a phoenix rises out of its ashes to be reborn with a stronger identify and greater sense of self. The man-vs-man conflict surfaces as they begin to question beliefs instilled in them by caregivers (parents, guardians, family members, teachers, etc.). Man-vs-society conflict arises when Diamonds-in-the-Ruff begin to question the norms in their environment. The man-vs-self conflict stems from the innate need to return to the essence of the divine. Diamonds-in-the-Ruff are struggling to become what they believe they have the potential to be because the divine is beckoning for their remembrance of who they are what they were created to be.
Everything in our universe returns to its source. Likewise, the Diamond-in-the-Ruff will eventually make a return to its source, the divine, and refuel its essence by replacing misguided beliefs with the knowingness that was loss early in life. To help our most vulnerable scholar make its return, self-speech becomes extremely important in the restoration process. The Diamond-in-the-Ruff must begin with a new belief, followed by new knowledge, and eventually a new identity. The following is a daily affirmation that has proven to be successful in helping to calm the storms that seem to be raging in students:
I Believe I AM love, loved, lovable, and loving.
I Believe I AM intelligent.
I Believe I AM cherished.
I Believe I AM worthwhile.
I Believe I Am important.
I Believe I Am beautiful/handsome.
Students spend twelve weeks reciting the daily affirmation at the beginning of class in unison then silently as many times as necessary during class and throughout the school day. They use the phrase, "I Believe..." because they are replacing negative, self-defeating beliefs with positive and empowering ones. The next twelve weeks are spent reciting the following affirmation to solidify their knowingness:
I Know I AM love, loved, lovable, and loving.
I Know I AM intelligent.
I Know I AM cherished.
I Know I AM worthwhile.
I Know I Am important.
I Know I Am beautiful/handsome.
Belief is the foundation; knowingness gives the identity, which leads to being. To help students with a new way to be, the remainder of the school year is spent saying the following affirmation daily in unison then silently whenever it is needed throughout the school day:
I AM love, loved, lovable, and loving.
I AM intelligent.
I AM cherished.
I AM worthwhile.
I Am important.
I Am beautiful/handsome.
Speaking the words "I AM" followed by liberating words guides students to choosing character traits and actions that help elevate the mind.
Solid Understanding of the Affirmations
As students grow up, life happens to them and their parents in ways no one had imagined. Therefore, students must know they were conceived out of love that may have been lost or not being expressed in the present moment. They must be reminded that they are loved by many, including the members of their school family. Students must know that they are lovable and should express this in their words and actions projected towards their peers and about themselves. They must know that being lovable leads to being loving in thoughts, words, and actions
Howard Gardner identified nine ways people are intelligent, which has been liberating for teachers and parents in many ways. Introducing the nine intelligences to students and guiding them to identify with at least two helps to increase their self-image. Knowing they have something to contribute to the world that may not be a focus of their schooling is paramount to them identifying with the affirmations of importance, worthwhile, and being cherished. They must know that they have a place in society that helps to make the whole function for the good of everyone.
Finally, students must know that the divine created everything and everybody in the image of itself. Every one of us is an expression of the best the divine had to offer at the moment of our creation. Students must be firm in their belief that the divine does not create anything less than a masterpiece, which equates to beauty for the feminine and handsomeness for the masculine.
As Deepak states in the Become What You Believe meditation challenge, what we identify with, we become. Our beliefs lead to a knowingness that leads to a way of being. Diamonds-in-the-Ruff have often surfaced in life to their highest fulfillment that have led our world to new identities with the divine that in turn have led us to a better way of being. The student who appears to be "at-risk" of school failure is actually "at-risk" of being one of the greatest individuals our world may ever known.
Namaste and God bless as we work to help our students reach self-actualization.