Dress for December

Dress for December

Children and young people often ask us for advice with achieving goals. Some goals relate to general health, mental health, education, social interaction, managing difficult individuals or high risk contexts, understanding certain behaviour / interaction or successfully applying for employment.

Children or young people in this context range from students at the University of Cambridge to young offenders. Most children have the same goals. Most children have the same fears or concerns. Many children’s goals relate to “making a difference” and “being free and independent”. Many fears relate to “being judged”, “being ridiculed” and “not being good enough”.

Assisting children with achieving their positive goals are important. We usually divide this session or lecture into sections ranging from understanding human behaviour, self-esteem or confidence to practical advice.

We recently asked children what their favourite parts of our ‘preparing to achieve goals’ lectures were.

Many responded with “Dress for December”. Life has seasons. We all have favourite months or seasons. Most individuals report that December is their favourite month, because “everyone makes an effort”, “you feel good when you look good” or “you feel good when everything around you is tidy, clean, beautiful”. “Dress for success”, “dress for the job you want”, “we tell people how to treat us with how we dress and behave ourselves” and “people will treat you the same way you treat yourself” are advice children often hear from adults.

We ask children or young people if they had to compile a team to manage important decisions or emergencies, to take the lead, who would they pick? What would they look for? What gives a message of ‘trust’ and ‘sensible’ or ‘reliable’? Are they mostly calm or anxious? Are they positive or negative? Do they put other’s first? What do they prioritise? Are they confident and how can you tell? What do they talk about? What don’t they talk about? What clothing do they wear? Do they wear revealing clothing? Do they wear a lot of bright make up and nail polish?

“It is nice to do certain stuff, but you have to ask yourself will it work and what is my message to the world?”, 17 year old. “People see you in town and everywhere, you can’t just act the right way when in school, it is a commitment”, 16 year old.

It is a different world now compared to 1990 or 1960, however, the definition of leadership have not change much and many children aim high, as they should, to achieve positions of leadership.

“The players change, but the game stays the same”, 65 year old GP

If your mayor, your doctor, your police officer, your solicitor or the CEO of a favourite company goes to town or the beach, what do you expect them to wear? What will make you think his or her priorities are not right in terms of decisions or behaviour?

Messages we give each other, including children and young people, by our choices, by what we wear, by our behaviour, how we express emotions or thoughts, matter. Messages can confuse children or increase risk and harm.

“My mum does this on the beach, then my girlfriend should do it too”, 12 year old boy referred to us as recommended by the Police.

“People shouldn’t judge based on appearance, choices or someone’s behaviour, but the reality or truth is that they do, and this will never change, might as well be smart and play the game to get to where you want to get to”, as reported by a 16 year old.

It is important to represent a true version of yourself to the world, a version you are comfortable with, but also a version that represents the best of you and your goals. Programming yourself and your life for success is a matter that involves practical, physical, behavioural, cognitive and emotional prep and planning, and it should be fun.

“Appearance matters. And remember to smile.” Mandela

Season’s Greetings and a Happy 2022.

We continue to offer pro bono lectures or sessions for children, families, carers and professionals twice a year, usually April and November. Our ‘ask us anything’ question and answer sessions are usually popular. Please email us at admin@cinaps.co.uk for more details.

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