Girl Group | Tool Box Training | Wk 1 & 2

Our “Tool Box” Training Session is up and running!

During our first week, we asked the girls to measure their feelings. We created a human measuring stick. On one end, were the girls who felt comfortable (at that moment in time) and on the other end, were the girls who felt less certain or uncomfortable.

We set up a scale to determine how our girls felt about solving problems. The responses illustrated the spectrum of emotions. 1) "I like to solve my problems right away. Action takes care of it faster." 2) "Sometimes I like to solve it." "10 + 1 = 11 is one problem I can solve." 3) "I told my parents & suddenly it became a really big deal. So I don't always tell them my problems." 4) "I run away from my problems because it's just easier."

Another scale charted the territory between dependence and independence. 1) "I could be independent, but I like having my parents." 2) "Today I don't feel independent. I feel like I need someone to hold me down. Because my friends and teachers were mean." 3) "My stuffed animals are all I need. I'm independent."

A third scale tracked the group’s feelings about change. 1) "Change makes me confused. I don't know what I'm doing." 2) "My biggest change was moving." 3) "My biggest change was when my parents got divorced." 4) "My brother being born and moving to a new school was my biggest change."

Being able to “take our own temperature” gives us a way to track our ever changing feelings of comfort and discomfort. Understanding that days (or moments) can be great and not so great, helps these feelings become less overwhelming. Charting the ebb and flow of our emotions and feelings is a way to understand that a good or bad feeling is not necessarily a constant. A good or bad feeling does not define us.

Creating a scale also introduced the girls to their emotional peers and helped everyone feel more comfortable and open. Our conversation deepened. One of the girls shared that she'd had a really hard day at school. Someone had slapped her in the face. She hesitated to share, but ultimately did. “Sometimes,” she said, “Saying something hard out loud helps you and helps someone else in the group.”

We talked about how our emotions might be misread. "My mom thought I had anxiety, that's why I'm here, but don't think so. I just ate a lot of donuts."

In week two of “Tool Box Training,” we talked about different problem solving strategies. Some girls found comfort or identity in their problems. Others asked to have their problems taken away.

In our action piece, we encouraged the girls to tear up scrap paper and magazines. We asked them to imagine shredding their problems and tossing them away. Finding a physical metaphor and feeling an object in your hands is a great way to change old patterns. We can’t always shred paper and toss it around the room, but we can imagine the act, can hold that vision in our heads and find some strength.

When asked to name their problems the girls cited, “math,” “mean friends,” and “rules.” One girl confessed that she “cried because she thought she’d never solve the problem, but then I stopped crying and I solved it.” Another girl said “Sometimes problems aren’t your problems – especially problems with not nice people.”

We look forward to Friday’s session, where we’ll be Shrinking our Worries.

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