The Positivity Project: Teaching Kids Self-Esteem

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As moms, we often feel it is part of our job responsibility to help our children be happy. We love, we comfort, we cheer. It's not always easy, and, arguably, it gets harder as they get older and more susceptible to the influence of peers and the media. But, says Stephanie Marston, acclaimed therapist, speaker, and author: "Self-esteem is the best gift you can give your children. It affects every area of [their] existence—from the friends [they] choose, to how well [they] do in school, to what kind of job [they] pursue, to even the person [they] choose to marry." Imparting self-esteem is an important, ongoing challenge, the most important part of what we do.

Good self-esteem is important for us to have as well, because it is difficult to impart if it is not already possessed.  Self-esteem goes hand-in-hand with a positive outlook on life. It is for this reason that sites like MomItForward exist—to help make your job easier so that you feel happier and can pass that feeling onto your family. Amway, the distributor of many nutrition, bath and body, and home products, also aims to promote what they call "positivity." Says Gary Mougalian, Marketing Director at Amway: "Positivity is a powerful and infectious mindset that can make a real difference to people and communities." To promote positivity in the community, they began what they called the "Positivity Project" in 2010. "The essence of the Positivity Project is the idea of creating a movement of positivity—and this is only possible if that positivity is continually passed on—or 'paid forward.'" Entrants submitted inspirational stories, judges selected semi-finalists based on how uniquely they expressed the power of positive, how much they have affected others for the better, the extent to which their story could be an example to others, and how they would use the prize of $10,000 to carry on the power of positive. The grand prize winner was chosen by the general public voting online.

Caitlin Boyle, founder of OperationBeautiful.com, won because the mission of her blog is to end negative self-talk by women. Her site began when she, after having a particularly horrible day, was inspired to do something nice for a stranger, and wrote "You Are Beautiful" on a post-it note and put it on a public bathroom mirror. The note went viral and OperationBeautiful.com was born, with a mission to spread positivity and hope through random messages. Caitlin announced that she will be paying forward her prize money to Girls on the Run, an organization that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running. Says Gary, "Caitlin's donation will help to fund 76 lower-income girls' participation in the Girls on the Run program."

Amway's Positivity Project and Caitlin's Operation Beautiful are two examples of people passing on or paying forward good things. It has been said: "An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves," (Mrs. Lydia Maria Child). The best way to increase our happiness and that of our children is to acknowledge every piece of goodness that has come into our lives and pay it forward in whatever way we can, no matter how small or large, for in so doing, there is no way that we too can not be the ones lifted.

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