For some students, the first day of school holds the hope of new shoes and fashion, fun times with friends, and more school awards.

For others, the day looms as the dreaded end of a much-needed break from past challenges and the fear of future failures.

While busy parents scramble to outfit their students and fill new backpacks with the required supplies in time for the big day, they may be leaving out the tools all students really need, but rarely receive: the tools of self-empowerment.

A steady flow of self-empowering encouragement can help your student deal with social situations, self-doubt and other circumstances that can derail their love of learning and love of self.

First, dare to be creative in how you share with your student. Since kids tend to tune out speeches they hear as nagging, try the element of surprise, such as:

  • Each Monday, leave an inspiring note in their lunch kit or clipped to their school ID lanyard.
  • Once a month, place a message on the mirror where they brush their teeth.
  • If you drop them at the bus or school, every once in a while, put a Post-it note on the passenger-side dashboard
  • Write a self-empowering sentence, cut it up into one-word pieces and let them solve the puzzle while you take care of kitchen tasks.
  • Play a game with them by hiding your empowering message and make finding it a scavenger hunt.

In keeping with the Civic Heart mission to “help others empower themselves,” we offer you 11 self-empowering messages to share with the students in your life:

1. “I may not control what happens today, but I am in control of how I act and what I say.”

2. “No one can take my inside-power from me unless I let them.”

3. “Mistakes I made are what I did, NOT who I am.”

4. “Every day is a new day to begin again.”

5. “Every day is a new day to be the person I want to be…kinder, braver.”

6. “I am not perfect, but I can make progress.”

7. “Today, I will do one thing that makes me feel better about myself.”

8. “We bloom when we bloom. We are all growing at our own pace.”

9. “Today I will not compare myself to others.”

10. “Today, I will not criticize myself or others.”

11. “I am the creator of my life and I make choices that help make my life better.”

Most important, since our kids learn more from what they witness of us than what we say, allow your children to see you positively empower yourself.

  • If bills come in and money is short, let them see you be in action to handle it without playing the victim or blaming others.
  • When you experience disappointment, share both your sadness and your self-empowering sentence that helps you move through it.
  • Daydream together about your vision for a brighter future, and each of you name what one thing you can do today to get things moving in the right direction.
  • Catch yourself when you are being negative or hopeless and announce that you have decided to stop hurting yourself with negative thoughts. Share your positive “replacement thought” with your child. Or better yet, let them help you create one.
  • If you mess up, take accountability for it, and make a new promise to yourself to make a better choice. Share with your student that you may be down, but you are not out!

From our civic hearts to yours, we wish you and your students a wonderful school year full of new empowering possibilities!