If mornings aren’t exactly your thing, you’re far from alone. (I literally can’t speak to another human until I’ve had my first sip of coffee.) But one positive-thinking 3-year-old from Virginia and her super motivational dad might just have you re-thinking the way you start your day.
Aliya Alston and her dad Ron have quickly gone viral in the last week, thanks to a little video Ron shared on his Facebook page, DFG Health and Wellness. The upbeat dad, who works as a program director at the YMCA by day, can be seen standing behind his adorable toddler in the video, as they both face the mirror.
“Look at yourself, look in your eyes,” he says to his daughter, as she giggles. “You gotta see it, okay? You gotta feel it. You ready? You ready for school? Is it gonna be a good day? A really good day? You gonna be positive?”
To all this, Aliya nods and giggles, saying, “Yes!” happily as her dad gets her psyched for the school day. But then it gets good. Real good.
As her dad begins reciting a series of positive messages, Aliya repeats each and every one after him, with confidence:
“I am strong. I am smart. I work hard. I am beautiful. I am respectful. I’m not better than anyone. Nobody’s better than me. I am amazing. I am great.”
“What’s your name?” asks Ron, to which his 3-year-old replies, “Aliya!”
“If you fall?” asks Ron. “I get back up,” finishes Aliya.
“What are you?” asks Ron. “I’m blessed,” says Aliya.
I don’t know about you, but I think this just became my new morning mantra.
Speaking with Babble, Ron says he often practices these kinds of morning routines with Aliya, to build her self-esteem and confidence:
“There are many different ways I try to encourage her throughout the day,” he says. “I’m a huge advocate for positive reinforcement, so she is made aware or rewarded for the things she does correct. But that just breaks the surface. I always try to speak to her in a calm voice, I allow her to make choices and try different things. I want her to understand and experience the world from her perspective and then learn to cope with the feelings that come with each interaction. I feel that the most important thing I do is encourage her to try.”
As for what led Ron to film the little morning routine and share it with the world:
“I was inspired to film the moment between Aliya and I just so that she can see it later in her life when she is older,” explains Ron. “This is something we do everyday in the morning before we leave the house, no matter what, although the affirmations do change and the pep talk in the beginning may change depending on what is happening or has happened.”
Boosting kids’ confidence is something Ron knows a little something about, and not just from being a dad. At his day job at the YMCA, he supervises between 40 and 60 children every day, and he does everything he can to make sure their self-esteem skyrockets, too. “I use the same positive reinforcement techniques and affirmations with the children I work with,” he shares. “Self-esteem and confidence are so important to me and I believe every child should have someone that helps them nurture those traits.”
Still, Ron admits he had “no idea” the video would go this viral. (To date, it’s racked up over 12 million views, 191K likes, and 330K shares.)
“It’s definitely weird for me, but I do enjoy that so many people are inspired,” he says. “I’m pretty much known as the ‘positive guy’ [among friends]. Spreading positive messages and helping to inspire others is definitely a passion of mine.”