The Super Optimism of Phyllis Fagell

"I think it's hard to be somebody who works with children and not have them be the source of optimism. No matter what's going on in the world, you have these kids who are such works in progress, and that makes me so optimistic."
That's what Phyllis Fagell told me in conversation when I asked, "What makes you Optimistic?"

Phyllis Fagell is the author of "Middle School Superpowers: Raising Resilient Teens in Turbulent Times," which includes a wonderful chapter, "Super Optimism - The Power to Find Hope and Humor in the Hard Stuff."
As you know, I believe optimism is a superpower, and Phyllis's work and wisdom is inspiring!
What's Your Optimism Superpower?
Optimism is an Acquired Skill

Phyllis told me, "I view optimism as an acquired skill. Some kids are born more capable of seeing the glass is half full, but many kids need to be taught how to be optimistic, and we can help them have a gentler school experience. We can help them bounce back from setbacks if we give them that set of skills. And it's a set of skills that involves really, really challenging skills, such as forgiving somebody. It's really hard, and there's that expression, "A wounded animal always tries to bite". And in middle school, there's a lot of wounded animals because there's so much sensitivity, and it feels like so much is at stake. And so we want to teach them skills like forgiveness, which is complicated. We want to teach them skills like challenging negative self-talk. If they hear themselves saying something self-critical, which middle schoolers can be super relentlessly self-critical, to take a step back and say, all right, well yeah, that's something that I'm working on, but maybe there's some hidden strength in there. What might that be?"
There's lots more to learn in this delightful conversation.  Please watch the video.
Read More: Optimism and the Young
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