I quickly found my place at the front of rows of collapsible chairs set up in the gymnasium, and the stage lights went up on Neverland. As I watched the play I couldn't stop thinking about the mother's comments; she was right. The boy (who was a playmate of my friend's youngest daughter) was repeatedly in trouble at school with very poor grades. However, on stage tonight as he fumbled and mumbled his way through his lines he was evidently enjoying himself, and, at the end of the performance I overheard his beaming parents encouraging him: "We told you it would feel great, didn't we? Flying like Peter Pan and getting the best of that nasty Captain Hook!"
I am convinced the boy was cast at least in part as the result of a secret pact between the drama teacher and his concerned parents who wanted to reinforce in their child the virtues of behavior as espoused by the popular hero in J.M Barrie's story.
These same principles can be applied just as effectively every day with your own kids. All the world is indeed a stage, so it is a great idea to use favorite fiction book characters that kids instinctively cast themselves as on their own "world stage" -- i.e. in the playground, with their friends etc. -- to help build confidence and encourage good behavior.
Start by identifying the positive messages and lessons in your children's favorite stories, then get ready to use the fun tools that we fiction writers have handed you!
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