By Jamie Perillo, LPC
When I was twelve I attended a holiday service with my mother. We were shown a large white poster board with a black dot in the center and were asked, “What do you see?” At twelve, not too happy to be there on a Saturday afternoon, I remember thinking this was a silly question. ” I see a black dot. There’s nothing else to see."
I was gratefully proven wrong. The speaker explained, “You have two choices. You can see the black dot or you can see a large piece of beautiful white paper with lots of room to write on.” In life, we have a choice – we can focus on the negative or we can try to see the positive. We have the choice to fixate on the black dot or see beyond the dot and open our mind to all of the possibilities the situation might bring.
When children come in anxious or stuck in negative thinking patterns I show them the paper with the black dot. Initially I am met with the same, “Are you kidding me?” look I gave many years ago. But as I explain the purpose in the exercise their eyes brighten and the lesson is understood.
If your child is having difficulty stuck in negative thought patterns or anxious, try showing them the paper with the black dot. It will be a lesson that sticks with them years later.