The X-Ray Challenge – Shannon Esrich
Do you remember the last compliment you received? What about the last one you gave? Sincere compliments about appearance – “Nice shirt!” “Love your earrings!” – can be quick mood boosters, but what would happen if you tried focusing only on inner qualities when admiring someone? While it is nice to be complimented on appearance, recognizing others for what they do —or who they are—can actively help combat constraining stereotypes for people of all ages and genders.
Rosie’s Girls campers learn they are valued for their achievements and character by practicing the art of X-Ray Vision. At camp, X-Ray Vision is a fun way to challenge both staff and students to replace praise focused on appearance with praise relating to character. For example, instead of commenting on a person’s shoes or hair, the emphasis moves to remarking on skills, abilities, interests, ideas, and acts of kindness. X-Ray Vision is all about seeing and saying what’s on the inside of someone – as if you could take an X-ray of their character and personality.
X-Ray Vision is one of several defining characteristics at Rosie’s Girls, which together aim to create a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment for campers. Campers regularly share feeling supported and encouraged by their peers during camp. Last year one camper shared,
“This is the only camp I’ve ever been to where you can really be yourself without being judged for it.”
Another said, “I learned that it is important to set goals for yourself, and support other people.”
Like all of the activities we practice at camp, they are not meant to stay isolated! Which is why I challenge you to bring X-Ray Vision into your own life and to give yourself and others an opportunity to try it out. Let someone know how confident, inspiring, intelligent, or kind they are, and notice how that compliment feels both to give and receive.