Monday, November 29, 2010
Technique Toolbox - You Are Special by Max Lucado
Credited to: Malinda Fasol, PhD, LPC
For use with: Children or Adults
What you will need:
A copy of Max Lucado's You Are Special
What you do:
I usually will read this book aloud to both children and adults. I like to sit at an angle where the client can see the pictures as I read to them.
The book is about the Wemmicks (wooden people created by Eli, the "carpenter on the hill"). They go about all day long, every day, giving each other stars and dot stickers. Stars for being talented or pretty and dots for being clumsy or having chipped paint. Punchinello, the main character, only gets dots. He meets Lucia (who looks much like an angel, all dressed in white) who has no stars or dots. Lucia says that she visits Eli at the top of the hill often, and the stickers don't stick to her no matter what, because Eli's opinion of her is all that matters.
Punchinello takes Lucia up on her suggestion and begins to visit Eli. Eli tells him how important and unique he is, created just by Eli to be that way. On Punchinello's way out of the workshop, one of his dot stickers fall off as he begins to believe that Eli really means what he says.
After the book, I typically ask at least these 3 questions (sometimes a few more, based on their answers):
1) If you were a Wimmick, would you get more stars or dots?
2) Can you tell me what 5 of the stars/dots would be for?
3) Do you have a Lucia or Eli in your life?
Question 1 gives me an understanding of how the child or adult sees him or herself. I can assess their self-esteem based upon the answer to that question. Question 2 is a cognitive exercise that has the client labeling what's good (or negative) about themselves. This can prove helpful in determine goals for therapy with adults (ostensibly to improve self-esteem or overcome a fear). Children will often parrot back what they have been told from friends or family members. Question 3 tells me what kind of support network the client has.
This book is not overtly Christian. Lucado wrote it from a Christian perspective, though, and I find it's a great way to introduce Christian principles into session without ever saying the words "Jesus" or "God."
From Max Lucado's website: The world tells kids, "You're special if... if you have the brains, the looks, the talent." God tells them, "You're special just because. No qualifications necessary." Only one of those messages will find its place in their hearts. That's why every child you know needs to hear this one, reassuring truth: "You are precious in His sight."
This is a great little technique to make its way into one of your novels. And if you haven't read You Are Special, give it to a child for Christmas this year. Wonderful, heartwarming story. There are several books by Lucado about the Wimmicks you might also want to consider.