Why do I think middle grade children are messengers of greatness? Well, when I sat down to write the Saltwater Taffy book, I knew I wanted to tell a story of adventure for middle grade readers. Middle grade children are at an age where they still know what it is like to play, be silly, and dream of a brighter future. They never worry about what other people think of them. They simply go about their business and take no prisoners doing so. They simply PLAY.
If we aren’t careful, however, it can also be an age where they develop bad habits that stick with them for the rest of their lives. What kind of habits am I talking about? The habit of……thinking we aren’t good enough. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of THE FOUR AGREEMENTS last night and while this is probably NOT on your reading list, the idea behind his message is:
YOU ARE A MESSENGER FOR GREATNESS
This made me think about all the Taffy Heads out there and the start of a whole new grade in school. You haven’t seen some of the kids at school all summer and you aren’t sure how to act. Why? Well, in just a few short months during your summer vacation, you changed BIG TIME. That’s all part of growing up. CHANGE. This is a good thing and I want to make sure you adopt new habits of what it’s like to be you and NOT resort to the way you were last year.
I want you to know that being happy isn’t just a state of mind. Happiness is open for business…ALWAYS. The problem you face at your age is you aren’t quite sure who you are yet. That’s okay. That’s part of growing up, figuring it all out. The thing you can’t do is ever think you aren’t good enough, or cool enough to act confident.
I’m here to tell you that you are cool enough, so start believing it right now. You are different than anyone else and that makes you cool. How do you expect greatness to enter your mind…in thought…word…and action…when you have shut the doors so tight with the insane idea that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or old enough, that all you end up doing is REMAINING THE SAME as you were last year. You aren’t. You are older now, so be confident and NEVER BE AFRAID.
The truth about you, about me, about everyone, is that we are unique in so many ways, but we try and try to “be like Mike” and fit in with everyone else. When you try to be someone else, you are missing out on the greatest opportunity in your life. That opportunity is to be YOU! Fully, completely and different from anyone else EVER BORN.
When you waste your energy on negative thoughts, you aren’t able to see that your happiness is up to you! I know what you’re saying, “That’s all well and good, but what about the times when it feels like the wheels of my life wagon have fallen off? When the other kids at school laugh at me. What then, Uncle E? How can I keep an open mind when everything around me is terrible? You have no idea how terrible my life is right now.”
BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Don’t be a whiner, be a WINNER!
You keep an open mind during moments of uncertainty. You keep an open mind that something new is about to happen in your life. You are about to GROW UP. It’s like a snake shedding their skin every month. Sometimes you have to go through something uncomfortable to be more of the person you are meant to be.
When I was your age, I played in the band and I caught a LOT of flack from the popular kids about it. I didn’t care. I stayed in the band, and even played football, was a member of the wrestling team, I even joined the theater department. I never quit the things I loved because those experiences shaped the man I am today. They taught me the discipline to rehearse, practice and then put on a show. As a result, every project I put my mind to, I finish. You think Saltwater Taffy would be a book right now if I listened to how difficult it was to write a book and get it published? You have to make sure that whatever you do, you are loving what you do.
Instead of feeling low and not thinking you are good enough, shouldn’t your life at school be a point of excitement and not something you fear or hate? Yeah, I know the first day in a new grade can be terrifying because you are unsure of yourself, but what happens after that first week of school when you meet other people? You are filled with excitement for the new year. You are excited about all the activities the school year brings.
YOUR LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE
There is a blue print for your life and it is drawn with your HAPPINESS in mind, but you are the messenger to bring your gift or talent to the world. The sole reason you are alive is to unlock that feeling inside of you that wants you to know that YOU ARE AMAZING. You are no different than anyone else in school, including your teachers and even the Principal! Yeah, sure they are older than you, but the common thing that connects everyone is that we all want to end our day filled with a sense of happiness, to be love and be love and most of all, filled with self-assuradness. Nobody wants to be miserable, so why make yourself miserable with bad thoughts?
You are alive to shape your life in such a way that your life is a breeding ground for the creative expression called “YOU.” Are your friends making fun of you? Find new friends. Afraid that you look stupid because your shoes aren’t as cool as the next kids? Please…they are just shoes and you should be thankful that you have a pair and MOVE ON.
Speaking of shoes, a friend of ours named Blake created a shoe company called TOMS, which gives away a pair of shoes each time someone buys a pair. The kids who get these shoes have never had a pair of shoes in their entire life and here you are worried your shoes aren’t new enough? Please. That is nothing but a selfish thought.
Be thankful for everything in your life because everything in your life shapes who you are TODAY and who you will become TOMORROW. If you ever have a thought that isn’t based on how good your life is, stop hiding behind those ridiculous lies you’re telling yourself about yourself and develop a new way of seeing that celebrates your life and everyone in it. Here’s the secret that I want you to understand:
YOU CAN’T CHANGE YOUR LIFE BY CHANGING THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU, YOU CHANGE YOUR LIFE BY CHANGING YOURSELF. WHEN YOU DO THAT, THE WORLD AROUND YOU CHANGES.
Eric DelaBarre is an award winning filmmaker and the author of Saltwater Taffy Copyright September 24, 2010 All Rights Reserved.