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July 2014 • A Life or Death Experiment

July 1, 2014

     “I think we all need a pep talk.” These are the now famous words of Robby Novak. Robby, also known as “Kid President,” has a positive attitude that is a true inspiration. He is a 10-year-old young man who has osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, as it is commonly known. This is a struggle that he shares with his sister. Between the two of them, they have endured over 150 broken bones in their short lives. Brad Montegue, Robby’s brother-in-law, started making videos of Robby just playing and talking, and these videos were intended to be for family and friends. However, Robby’s “pep talk” has been viewed over 32,000,000 times on youtube.com. This led to him being interviewed by national news organizations, as well as earned him a trip to meet President Obama in the Oval Office. In his video titled, “Kid President’s Letter to a Person on Their First Day Here” Robby states, “We all have mess ups sometimes, and the greatest mess up is not forgiving other people’s mess ups.”

     The thing that is so amazing about Robby is his positive attitude and positive focus in all circumstances. One of the most common forms of therapy is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and Robby seems to naturally follow the guidelines of this form of therapy. The basic idea behind CBT is that a person feels whatever she or he thinks most often. Feelings are based on thoughts. A person cannot feel something that the individual will not allow himself or herself to think. Robby certainly has reason to have a negative attitude, but he exudes confidence, self-affirmation, and his love of simple things like fresh air, laughter, and corn dogs.
     What about you? If another person could hear what you say to yourself about yourself, would that individual most likely say that you are your own greatest cheerleader, or would that individual understand your one way conversation as verbal abuse? “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” is the NASB translation of Proverbs 23:7. As an experiment, rate your own mood on a 1–10 scale, with 10 being “Awesome,” as Robby Novak would say. Then, pay attention to your own thoughts for an entire day. Take the time to analyze how much you are thinking and expecting negative things and how much you are thinking and expecting positive things. Finally, rate your own mood again on the 1–10 scale at the end of the day. If you generally think negatively, and you choose to think positively today, your rating will most likely increase. Your everyday thought process will to a large degree impact your mood. You must decide if the impact is positive or negative.
     Everyone has negative issues and struggles. CBT does not suggest that you go into denial about your real life struggles. Dr. Viktor Frankl, who survived the concentration camps of World War II, stated, “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” The point is this: Where is your focus? Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) states, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will enjoy its fruit.” Of course, you must think something before you can ever say it. Are you focused on life (positive thoughts) or death (negative thoughts)?
     According to Robby, it is everyone’s “duty to give the world a reason to dance.” If you need a pep talk, search youtube.com for “Kid President.” He has a lot of videos, and every one has humor, encouragement, and wisdom. His bones may be brittle, but his spirit is very strong. Regardless of your struggles, you also can enjoy abundant life by following Jesus, managing your thoughts to remain positive, and viewing every circumstance as an opportunity for blessing.

 

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