Catching Enthusiasm

Written By: Fiona - Aug• 08•14

It’s not very often I receive testimonials like the one that was emailed to me recently. Please forgive my lower strength of modesty, in the sharing of the following feedback of our From Strength to Strength program from colleague and fellow-educator, Nicole Stottlemyer. Here’s her story:

“Imagine this: I’m in bed watching your DVD on my laptop.  My six year old nephew Alex walks in.  Climbs in bed with me and is enthralled.  A few minutes later my 59 year old dad walks in.  Climbs in bed with us and is enthralled.

Alex then requests that I read your book, Crackpot, to him.  Then, later that night, he comes back into my room when I’m reviewing the strength cards. He asks questions, and I explain: “Fiona is my friend.  She teaches people about their character strengths… she teaches people how to be good people.  I might want to do what she does.”  He asks questions about the cards.

“What’s that one? “

“Perseverance,” I tell him.

“What’s that mean?”

I explain, and he requests that I play the music for him. Within the first few beats he says “I LIKE IT!” and we listen to the whole CD!  He asks for the words so we can sing along! So I had to stop the music, put the other CD in, find the lyrics, and then put the music CD back in.

Later that night Alex tells me about a friend who was being mean to him.  At this point I began to cry, realizing how thirsty he is for this work, and how quickly he is learning it.  I can’t even describe how great it made me feel.  Big alligator tears came down my face, and I sobbed audibly.  He snuggled up to me, and I told him how happy I was…that they were happy tears.

THEN he tells me about wanting to do a backbend kick thingy, and I offer to spot him as he tries it.  I tell him that, just like riding his bike, if he practices he’ll eventually be able to do it on his own.

I asked what strengths would he be using to accomplish his goal, and he RAN over to the strengths cards.  Flipped through them, and called out a few.  Friendship, teamwork.  Yes, those are good (I was surprised… I hadn’t thought of those!).

“There is another one too,” I tell him. “If you keep flipping the cards I think you’ll see it.”  He kept flipping them, and then shouted out PERSISTENCE!

Oh, and one more thing:  He also wanted to look at the strengths cards disc. I flipped through each page, and read him the description of each strength. He was captivated.

My fears and self-critical beliefs about doing this work were totally interrupted yesterday when I got to see a glimpse of how life changing this work has been for my little Alex.

Thank you so much!

I feel very humbled and uplifted by Nicole’s animated, fun and inspiring feedback. Stories like these remind me of why I do this work.

Thank you, Nicole.


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