The IALAC Story

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    When I was beginning my career in education I was greatly influenced by the Values Clarification curriculum, a set of exercises that explore self-esteem, community building, and responsible decision making. One of the most memorable activities with the IALAC Story - "I Am Lovable And Capable" - and how we can lose our self-confidence when others do not take the time to engage fully with us in a respectful way. Here is a version of the story I found that can explain this process:

The "IALAC" Story

All people are born with a big IALAC - a feeling that "I Am Lovable and Capable."  Sadly, as we grow up, other people and events in life chip away at our IALAC.  To demonstrate how this happens, below is a story about a day in the life of Joshua.  Joshua is an 11 year old who is perhaps very much like you.

On this particular day, Joshua is awakened by his father who is yelling, "Joshua, you overslept again!!  What is the matter with you?  Hurry up or you will be late for by Shopping Sidekick Plugin">school!  Joshua jumps out of bed and says to himself "I'll hurry and I will be ready on time."

Joshua got dressed and tried to get into the bathroom.  His older brother had the door locked and would not let him in. "You can wait your turn, squirt, I was here first."  Josh waited and waited and waited and waited.........

Joshua had been looking forward to his yummy, crispy crackling cereal.  As he entered the kitchen his mother remarked, "My, my Josh you certainly are the slow poke of our family." "But...but." he started to say.  "No time for talking now Josh, hurry you are late!!" said his mother.   Josh hung is head and sat down.  There was a bowl of now mushy, soggy cereal.

Not to be discouraged, Joshua gathered his by Shopping Sidekick Plugin">homework and started walking quickly toward his bus stop.  He was proud of his science homework.  It had taken a lot of time and research.  He was eager to show it to Ms. Vega, his teacher.  As Joshua was heading toward the bus stop, a huge gust of wind blew up behind him and his science papers flew into the air and landed in a puddle.  He tried to grab them before they got all wet but they were soaked.

Josh was so discouraged.  He'd just have to explain things to Ms. Vega.  He started quickly toward the bus stop.  With only two blocks left to walk, he looked up and saw the bus pulling away slowly.  He ran but he could not catch the bus.

Josh had to walk the rest of the way to school.  As he walked in the door of the school, the principal, Ms. Johnson, stopped him.  "Joshua, you should be ashamed of yourself - 20 minutes late!  What do you have to say for yourself??...never mind now, you are so late.  Get to by Shopping Sidekick Plugin">class this instant.  There will be no recess for you today   I want you in my office during recess."

By this time Joshua was feeling so low.  He got to his classroom and began doing his work.  Then Ms. Vega said. "And now by Shopping Sidekick Plugin">students please take out your science homework."  Joshua slowly raised his hand and said, "Ms. Vega, I know you might not believe this, but as I was walking to school a huge gust of wind came up and took my homework....."  Ms. Vega straightened up and said in a loud stern voice, "Stop...stop right there Joshua.  Students, if you don't do your homework, please don't make up ridiculous stories and excuses.  I want people to tell the truth in my class."  She gave Joshua a very stern look and told him to sit down and be quiet.

Joshua had very little IALAC left.  As he walked to lunch, he said to himself, "Well at least a good lunch will make me feel better."  As he carried his tray across the lunchroom, someone tripped him.  Crash!!

Down went everything all over the floor!  All the kids laughed at him.

(original story by Sidney Simon and Merrill Harmin)


Each of us can certainly relate to this story!

With the students I sometimes make a sign on a piece of paper with "IALAC" on it and tape it to my shirt. I then describe a series of events (like those in the story) and tear a piece of the sign off. Soon there is no sign - and a very unhappy Teacher John! Now I ask about positive interactions with others, and as the students make suggestions ("help him clean up the lunch tray" and "invite him over for a play date" and the like) I tape the sign back together. In the end there is still an IALAC sign, but it has lots of scars - just like we do. 

Just search for "IALAC" for more ideas about this activity. Maybe you can use this idea in your family as a way to develop each individual's self-esteem.


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This page contains a single entry by John published on May 16, 2013 11:17 AM.

Preparing Children to be Life-long Learners was the previous entry in this blog.

Mama Jean and William James: The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness is the next entry in this blog.

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