Family Focus


How to infuse positive beliefs and optimism in your child

Roughly speaking, we could divide the world into two types of people: those that tend to be the optimist and those that tend to be the pessimist. 

The Pessimist: He or she tends to complain no matter how many good things they get in life. They might have all the money in the world, are blessed with healthy, happy children and have a house full of cool goodies. 

So, how can they complain? They magically find a way to discover the negative in everything!

They will complain about the bad weather or about new programming on their new TV. Or it could be about about traffic, their cell phone signal or the government. No matter how good things are going, their tendency is to keep finding problems. It’s just what they do, and they do it well. 

The Optimist: The optimist takes a different view and sees the world through the eyes of a "glass that is always at least half-full". They believe in the positive nature of things, and actually find it! 

They may praise the weather even when it’s raining and say, "How beautiful the raindrops are!" They may be getting a cavity filled and find a grateful thought about the quality of their dentist. They may be sitting in traffic and find appreciation for a song they had not heard in years, or cherish the chance to connect with an old friend.

You might say the pessimist sorts for the problems and seeks to find things that are wrong in the world. The optimist, on the other hand, tends to search how things are working and sees what’s right in the world.

Bottom line: An optimist tends to have a happier, more fulfilling life and experiences more success in most ventures. (The same, of course, is true for our children.)

How would you like your child to experience the world? Honestly, it is hard to argue for realism or pessimism. Why? Because life is so much more frustrating and painful, and lacking in the same levels of fulfillment and joy.

I find most of us want our children to experience optimism, happiness and a positive orientation toward the world. For good reason, these optimistic children do have a qualitatively better life, with more fulfillment and success.

Building your child’s healthy beliefs

In order to infuse your child’s belief system with optimism, you must often go against your natural tendencies. 

When your child is spouting out negativity or self-defeating ideas, we tend to correct these moments. STOP! Don’t do that. Your repeated efforts making it better actually makes it worse.

Instead, when your child expresses negative beliefs, do not try to correct her, argue with her, preach to her or give any response. DON’T GIVE ANY ATTENTION TO THE NEGATIVE BELIEFS OF YOUR CHILD or else you are encouraging them to develop more. 

Their brain thinks that you and the world care about this negativity, and it clings to it more than ever. 

What to do then?

Be patient. Wait for moments when they are not spouting out negativity. In those moments, offer them your truth, your positive beliefs and do so authentically. 

Choose a time when your child is engaged in an activity, such as when they are playing with you,or when you are telling them bedtime stories. You can then describe your positive view and optimistic outlook to him or her. 

Catch your child off-guard, when he or she is not arguing for the negative view, and caught in his or her pessimism or problem. Be patient, and wait for a moment of calm. It’s then that you can influence their beliefs by suggesting: 

  • I believe in you
  • You are intelligent
  • You can do it
  • You are a born winner
  • You have the capability
  • You can handle this
  • We will get through this
  • Everything is possible in this world

These beliefs will become a treasure for your child. 

As your child develops positive beliefs and strengthens them, she will be able to face failures of life with a positive outlook. Failures will be "stepping stones for success". 

Dr. Randy Cale offers practical guidance for a host of parenting concerns. For more information visit



Once upon an App

By Ciara McCann

There seems to be a gadget or electronic device for just about everything these days, and many parents on the go carry a bag full of them to keep their children engaged throughout the day. Now your cell phone can be your arsenal of technologies that will not only entertain but educate your child at the same time.

In the spring of 2009, Libba Evans came up with an idea after noticing something strange on her new iPhone – a surprising lack of applications for children. This discovery inspired Evans, a grandmother, long-time businesswoman and former North Carolina Secretary of Cultural Resources, to develop Once Upon an App. 

Evans began collaborating with local illustrators, narrators, musicians and designers on an application that uses classic illustrations that are digitized in an interactive form for children to learn and enjoy. 

The company released their initial app to the public in late September 2009. The first stories available included "Humpty Dumpty" and "The Three Little Pigs". Not long after, their holiday app of "’Twas the Night Before Christmas" reached the top of the iTunes "What’s Hot" list.

"The apps blend high-tech with high art," said Evans. They feature high resolution, early 20th century illustrations and simple melodies to help expand children’s imaginations while immersing their attention in a fun and easy-to-use way.

"The classic stories have such great character-building messages, so children can learn and be entertained at the same time." 

Children aren’t the only ones benefitting from this app. Parents can utilize the stories to keep their children occupied, such as during traveling, grocery shopping, dining out or waiting at a doctor’s office.

Once Upon an App employs a team of three full-time staff based out of Winston-Salem, NC, and has partnerships with local design experts and software developers. From start to finish, an app typically takes three-to-four weeks to develop. Their goal is to develop four new apps each month.

"We identify stories that we believe will capture a child’s attention while providing an educational component," said Evans. Once a story is selected, the team creates a storyboard and the illustrations, writes the voiceover copy and hires talent for the narration and musical composition. It is then put together and submitted to Apple to be sold in the iTunes App Store. 

As far as deciding which stories to ultimately go with, the team looks within for help.

"We have vetted our children’s storybook apps among our harshest critics," Evans said, referring to their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.­ This is in addition to the thousands of others around the world who have downloaded the stories.

"So far, their reactions have exceeded our expectations," said Evans.

Each app is typically 10-30 page views and has a run time of less than five minutes. They are either free or cost 99 cents to download and work on not only the iPhone, but also the iTouch and the new iPad. In fact, when the iPad launched last month they had more than 1,600 downloads in one week.

"We believe we have a solid business plan, the expertise, and the patience to grow the business over time," said Evans. "We’re here for the long haul."

To learn more about Once Upon an App, visit


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