I watched frozen with my niece about three weeks ago. During the movie she said that Elsa was mean. Maybe a typical response would have been reassuring her that Elsa was not mean, but I thought it would be more productive to have a conversation. So instead, I asked her why and here is what she said.
My niece: “Because she is throwing snow everywhere and is hurting people.”
Me: “Well, maybe she just does not know how to use her power yet?”
“Yes. Like what she is passionate about and what she is good at. What is your power”
“I like to color in flowers. I do not draw them myself, they are outlined, but I color them to make them look real, but they are make believe”
“Maybe, you could be a florist”
“Yes, someone who works with flowers and makes them nice and pretty and could organize them for weddings or a nice valentines gift”
*My brother (her uncle) walks in.
My niece: “Whats your power?”
My brother: “I don’t have a power”
And this is the issue. My brother is about to be 30 and it is unbelievable that he does not think he has a power. Not because at the age of 30 people should have everything figured out, but because every person has power with their sole existence. It hurt me to know that he did not believe he made an influence in the world and that his talent (art, medium: air brush) was not considered. This has a lot to do with the educational system.
My niece is four and I wanted her to know that we all have power, but we do not have the space to discover it. And that starts off by paying attention to the children of the world. So often they take in the world without adults even realizing how much of the world children understand. Had I just told her that Elsa was not mean she would have just said okay. But asking her why she believes that Elsa is mean creates a conversation and further understanding. My niece can understand that Elsa is not mean, she just does not know how to use her power because she has not been given the space to do so. But this also comes with a larger lessons. Sometimes people are not intentionally mean or bad people, most times actually, they have not been given the space to learn who they are and explore their passions. By asking my brother what his power is, my niece is becoming part of a larger conversation in education.