By Kelly Parthen and Shannon Payette Seip
Spy siblings put self-esteem into focus
Your son just secured a solo in the band concert, but you worry his stage fright will sabotage his hours of practice. Or your daughter's new spot as goalie is more traumatic than triumphant because she fears letting her teammates down, even though she can stop the toughest of shots.
If your kids have trouble at times believing in themselves, the new film Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over can help them realize their true potential. After the movie, do our family activity, "Eye-Spy," to bring the lesson to life.
The latest Spy Kids sequel features Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara), a pint-sized private eye on a mission to rescue his sister, Carmen (Alexa Vega), from the clutches of the sinister Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone). Juni must journey inside a virtual reality video game that imprisons the imaginations of players who hit the highest level. Juni must save his sister and shut down the game before it takes over the minds of kids everywhere.
Upon entering virtual reality, Juni meets a band of teenage test subjects who are stuck in the game and are searching for "The Guy"--the boy destined to help them win. The boys soon believe heroic Juni is The Guy. But Juni, unable to see himself as the chosen one, must look inside to see whether he has what it takes to be their leader.
Family Activity: Eye-Spy
You don't need to be a family of secret agents to uncover uncertainties. Create your own Eye-Spy glasses to detect ways to combat self-doubt.
Talk about Juni's fears when the teenage testers first thought he was The Guy. Discuss times when your children let their doubts get in the way of enjoying new adventures, such as their first solo trip to summer camp.
Next, talk about why it was important for Juni to have confidence in himself to accomplish his mission. Then point out why it is better to focus on your strengths rather than your fears. Ask your kids to think of some examples of when they succeeded because they concentrated on their strengths.
Red Dry-erase marker
Decorations such as tiny stickers, nail polish, or glitter
Using a red dry-erase marker, color both lenses of a pair of glasses, leaving a small eyehole on each lens. Have your children put on their glasses, and ask them to look around and remember as many circular objects as they can find. Then ask them to detect any red objects.
When they're through spying on their surroundings, have your kids close their eyes. Although they were searching for red and circular objects, ask them how many triangular or yellow objects they remember.
Odds are, they won't remember too many yellow or triangular things because they were so focused on red and circles. Explain that we tend to see only those things on which we are focused. So, when your kids let their fears of failure take over their minds, they will lose sight of their self-confidence. However, if they concentrate on their strengths, they are more likely to conquer new challenges.
Wipe off the lenses. Together, think of an upcoming situation where a boost of confidence is needed. Perhaps your children are about to start at a new school. Decorate the glasses with words, pictures and other items that will help your children see themselves in a positive frame of mind. Is your son a great joke teller? Draw a smiley face on the glasses.
As the big day approaches, have your children pull out the glasses when their fears creep up. The colorful glasses will remind them to focus on their strengths they need to succeed.
They will learn, just like Juni, that sometimes seeing is believing . . . in yourself!
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