Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Emperor's New Groove

"So, Mom, what is my life story? You know, like the Emperor has a 'new groove'..."

This was the question last night.

I suggested "Wylie's World" (a la Wayne's World, but that is before his time and he will likely not take offense).

Then he begins talking about all the things that define "Wylie's World". It is a very interesting conversation. It involves things like "my diet, do you know what my diet is, Mom?", and the church we go to and the games he plays.

Finally, he says--with all sincerity--"I want you to be in my world, Mom. What will you do?" How priceless is that? I give him a couple ideas of my role and what fun we could have and we agree on my particular assignment in his world.

These are the conversations that keep me consistently intrigued by my son. His whole life is a metaphor. (Philosophically, all our lives are a metaphor, but most 10 year old boys don't actively define and create the metaphor like Wylie does).

Imagine for a moment the strategic possibilities of living like this...

You choose the "metaphor" for your life.

You begin to place the people, things, events, and purposes in your world that have meaning for you. You shape the environment. You decide how an event or experience is filtered to your emotions and your thoughts. If you are threatened or wounded, you create a "character" or a "super power" that helps you to process that experience. You don't necessarily take it personally.

One of the exercises speech pathologists and psychologists suggest for sensory kids is the creation of "power cards" or "power stories". Essentially, it is exactly the same process as figuring out the emperor's new groove.

For example, if your child hates/fears/vomits at haircuts (reference earlier post), you create a story that has a character that doesn't like haircuts and through the story show how the character learns to cope with them and face the fear. How cool is that? In a way, the power story helps the brain to imagine a different way of experiencing the same thing. Think childbirth: Lamaze breathing anyone? Wasn't that whole deal just a power story for "it really doesn't hurt that bad?"

Wylie's World. The Emperor's New Groove. The Wizard of Oz. ZigZagStraight.

It actually seems like a brilliant way to live to me.

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