“Rely on yourself, and be true to who you are. What’s unique about you is what will take you far. Don’t look to others to say you’re okay. You know it—so believe it!—show your own self the way. Don’t blame others for the things you say or do. Every choice that you make is all up to you.” – From the book
Following after his debut children’s book Incredible You!, Dr. Wayne Dyer has created another colorfully illustrated book titled Unstoppable Me! Based on his book for adults What Do You Really Want for Your Children?, Dr. Dyer offers ten encouraging lessons for kids ages 4-10—ways to “soar through life”:
1. You’re Great—No Matter What!
2. Persistence Pays Off!
3. Welcome the Unknown
4. You Have a Choice
5. Farewell to Worry
6. Peace Begins with You
7. Enjoy the Here-and-Now
8. Healthy Me!
9. Creativity is the Key!
10. What Can You Give?
Co-authored by Kristina Tracy with lovely illustrations by Stacy Heller Budnick, Unstoppable Me! provides a rhyming poem explaining the lesson, as well as an example from everyday life—all from a child’s view. Here’s a sample from the section Farewell to Worry:
“If you want to be unstoppable,
there’s something you must know:
Worrying can bring you down
And cause helpless feelings to grow.
Just try to remember,
When stressful thoughts attack,
That positive actions on your part
Are the best way to fight back.
So talk to someone if you’re feeling blue;
Tell them about your thoughts.
Because sharing your burdens can help
You through many of life’s rough spots.”
To explain this lesson, a girl is worried about her spelling test, but after explaining how she felt to her Mom—then practicing her words—her worries starts to melt…and she feels “confident and free” as she takes control.
In the back of Unstoppable Me!, there are questions associated with each lesson, asking how each concept might be applied in everyday life. While I enjoyed Incredible You!, I have reservations about Unstoppable Me! (Interestingly, my 8-year-old son turned his nose up to this book when I offered it to him—and picked up Incredible You! instead. Here’s something funny: my son *just* walked in as I am typing this and I asked him “Do you like this book?” and he answered “No…it’s not as perfect as it looks.”) !!!
Specifically, I feel that this particular children’s book promotes narcissism and potential opportunities for what some call “New Age guilt”. On the first issue, Lesson #1 says “If you value yourself and all that you are—you’ll be unstoppable—the next superstar!” The illustration shows several children performing on a stage.
So what’s the problem? Well, considering that young children idolize teen pop stars and actors—including the likes of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and other party girls—I feel this particular lesson sends the message that 1. If you think you’re great, you’ll be a star 2. When you’re a star, you’ll be “unstoppable”.
But what does it mean, really, to be “unstoppable”? To me, this is an unfortunate choice of words. Britney and others seem “unstoppable”—as in, unable to stop partying, unable to self-regulate, unable to make healthy choices, and unable to act with dignity.
Lesson #2 states, “It’s not about talent or if you’re smart; it’s about never quitting something you start….Everyday after school I practice my guitar. I know I can be just as good as any rock star.” Again, here’s a glamorization of pop culture—this time, the wonderful model of the modern music scene.
Furthermore, this lesson tries to equalize the “playing field” by dismissing that some children (and people) are born with true TALENT. You don’t always have to slave away to be good at something. I never had to be “persistent” at being a good communicator—it just happened naturally.
And frankly, as a spiritual coach, I’ve had quite a few adults come to me wanting *desperately* to quit their 9-5 jobs that they had been “persistent” in for years…but are afraid to! So many people give UP on their dreams precisely because of the 1950s mentality of “finishing what you started”!
Lesson #8 says, “So tell yourself often, ‘I’m healthy, and I’m strong!’ And if you happen to get sick, know that you won’t be for long!” If a parent were to indoctrinate their kid with this familiar New Age ideology, I wonder how the child would feel if he or she contracted a terminal or painful illness? Because the logical conclusion is: “If I’m sick, I must have failed in telling myself that I’m strong…that I’m unstoppable.”
New Age guilt, anyone?
From what I’ve seen, Dr. Dyer’s books and lectures have gone downhill as he’s abandoned the wise, sensible precepts of his psychology background. Instead, he’s went after the ideas of other authors (such as Casteneda and Abraham/Hicks)—hijacking and distilling them—then regurgitating his magical thinking in a shallow New Age stew. His current shtick may be a tasty offering for those wanting a sweet easy life—but for those wanting to wake up via self-inquiry, the work of becoming conscious can often be anything BUT sweet or easy.
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