I developed the Toods, their families (kin) and their worlds for kids. These intriguing characters are potential friends and characters (character traits) to emulate. The stories and role-play that evolve can lead young people to develop a strong sense of self, kindness, resilience and connection through creative engagement. As a teacher, a parent and simply as someone who’s experienced both the joy of self-awareness and the insecurity of “am I good enough, happy enough or loved enough,” I look at today’s young people and worry.
There’s plenty to be anxious about. Seeds of insecurity and fear pop up everywhere. The world is often overwhelming and scary. Technology has connected us, bringing friends home whenever we want to chat and interact, but also bringing in danger. The neighborhood and the playgrounds of my childhood have changed.
Just the same, the more time I spend with today’s young people the more I feel I sense of hope. In general, they seem hungry to make a difference, to be inclusive and caring – to the world, the environment and their peers. At the same time, self-judgment and a sense of floundering with self-awareness causes anxiety.
I play! I imagine! I create! From those activities, even as I approach age 70, I feel confident strong and young. I need to share this with today’s young people. You can be a part of it.
Imaginary characters from 4 families (GratiTOOD, AttiTOOD, AptiTOOD and FortiTOOD) infiltrate a school – and eventually follow some of the kids home. It’s a behind the scenes, inside view of the struggles kids might face in the real world (self-confidence, kindness, bullying, self-awareness, goals, passion/talents, challenges and self-reliance) laced with small wins with which kids can identify.