What exactly is a unicorn? We scoured internet land to find the best and most compelling definition. And then, we realized that we have a resident expert in the Moshi world – Fluttercup the Unicorn. According to Fluttercup, unicorns are whimsical horses with magical powers that allow them to fly and spread kindness and hope to the world. They have a beautiful sparkly horn on their head, which makes them unique and different from horses. And, there are no two horns alike!
Or, for the purpose of this blog post, we’ll use a secondary (and less whimsical!) definition from Merriam – Webster: A unicorn is something unusual, rare, or unique.
How exactly do we help children find their inner unicorns, i.e. what’s unique about them? Let’s first think about the concept of uniqueness. Humans share all sorts of similarities but it is the combination of our individual traits and abilities that make us unique. For example, you may have a group of children who all play a sport together and are all really good. Their uniqueness lies in what they contribute as individuals to the group. One may be a natural leader while another may be strong at modeling a specific skill to a small group. Even further, one may be compassionate and supportive of those who are still learning and another may be hesitant to take risks because they want to do it just right. No matter what it is, it is what makes them unique. According to the social psychologist Alfred Adler, two of our basic needs are belonging and significance. These are what keep us motivated to show up and do our best. Being honored for what makes us unique reinforces that our individual contributions matter to the success of the family, group, or class.
Here are a few ideas to cultivate the unique contributions of children, whether in your home, on a team, or in a classroom.
- Take the time to really get to know them from their perspective. It is easy to make assumptions especially if everyone has a shared sense of purpose. Ask open ended questions, such as “Imagine yourself in the future. What will you be doing?”, “When you work in a group or on a team, what is something special that you add that nobody else does to make it better?”, or “If you woke up tomorrow and could only be good at one thing, what would it be?”
- Create a Venn Diagram, with the center being what you all have in common. Each person of the family or the group completes their own circle. This will help children visualize what makes them unique and what they share in common with friends and family.
- Focus on skills, abilities, and attitudes over physical appearance. This emphasizes that we have agency over what makes us unique. These are things that once identified, children can practice and grow over time.
- Be genuine and curious in your conversations. Listen to children and give them the time and space to talk about themselves. We often put emphasis on being good listeners and having empathy for others. Allow them to talk until they’ve told you all of their unique qualities. Reassure them that these qualities are worth having and refrain from judgement. This not only helps them see their significance, but it shows you truly care about what they think about themselves, which gives them the confidence to put their uniqueness to work.
Until next time, Fluttercup and the rest of the Moshlings hope you enjoy the magical journey of helping children find their inner unicorn. And somewhere along that journey, we hope you will take a few moments to rediscover your inner unicorn!
We’d love to hear about the inner unicorns that emerge. Share your children’s stories below or in Generation Moshi (our Facebook group)!