Guest blog authored by Gina Brelesky.
This past year, I co-authored a children’s book about resiliency called “Rodney Makes a Friend.” The book features Rodney the Rabbit – a shy rabbit who learns how to overcome the challenge of making new friends. Since the book’s release, I have learned so much from parents and teachers! It has been great to hear from educators and care givers about how they are using Rodney to teach children social intelligence skills. As I listen to their experiences, I’m reminded that we can ALL benefit from the life lessons Rodney shares…here are my top three takeaways I invite you to keep in mind and share with both the adults and children in your life.
Lesson 1: The Golden Rule of Friendship reminds us to treat others the way THEY want to be treated vs the traditional saying to treat others as WE want to be treated. Dr. Janet Little shared with me how she and her son, Payton, read the book over several nights. Payton loved the deliberate pauses built into the story and was able to make connections from the story to his own life. His mom shared, “My son and I read this book together. It’s a great fable about teaching kids and adults alike to never give up. My son learned about the “Golden Rule” to treat others like they want to be treated and has been able to apply that in his everyday life. This book has so many insights on keeping a growth mindset, an important lesson to learn when you are young and a great reminder for us all.”
Lesson 2: We need to remember to take other’s perspectives into consideration. When we teach children the Golden Rule of Friendship, treating others the way they want to be treated, we are teaching them perspective taking. Being able to take the perspective of another is an essential life skill which supports the building of social/emotional intelligence and resiliency. Perspective taking will serve children now as they navigate all that makes up childhood and, in the future, as they enter the muddy waters of teenage-hood and ultimately adulthood.
Lesson 3: It’s never too early or too late to improve our social and emotional intelligence. I must admit I was really excited to learn that fourth grade teachers could use “Rodney Makes a Friend” as part of their social and emotional health curriculum! Mrs. James sent me this after her class read the book together, “My fourth graders loved this book! It was a perfect read for them at this age. There are wonderful talking points which led to some great conversations!” For many children, fourth grade signifies the end of elementary school, which means navigating a new middle school and making new friends. The more teachers, parents and caregivers can talk with kids about the things that make them nervous and practice with them these social skills, the more confident and comfortable children will become when faced with the actual situation. As adults, we can continue to apply social intelligence skills as we begin new jobs, interact with new clients, attend business networking events, and more.
Thank you all for supporting “Rodney Makes a Friend” getting into the little hands that will benefit from reading it! After all, shouldn’t our goal be to raise socially intelligent and resilient kids? I sure hope so! And, let’s not forget to apply these lessons to our own lives. To learn more, visit www.ginabrelesky.com.
Gina Brelesky is an author, international trainer, talent coach and corporate educator with more than 25 years of extensive experience in training diverse groups of people in both hard and soft skills. Gina’s purpose is to support individuals, leaders, and teams to develop a growth mindset and achieve success. Through a strong partnership with her clients, Gina gains insight into their unique business culture, learns their perspective on success, and guides them through a process for achieving their goals.
Gina is passionate about supporting people in building the skills and self-awareness they need to grow towards their full potential. She believes that as individuals progress along this journey of growth and awareness, they provide progressively greater levels of value to their teams and companies.
Gina holds a Master’s degrees in Public Administration and Education. She has a Certificate of Advanced Study in Resilient Leadership and is DDI and DiSC certified. Gina is a trained coach through the Neuroleadership Institute in Brain-Based Coaching.