Letter: Working With Youth Requires Shift in Thinking
To the Editor-
Our communities have been building Developmental Assets for many years with guidance from Search Institute (www.search-institute .org). We have learned our personal relationships with youth from birth 18 provide critical connections that promote positive youth development. As we celebrate this season of gratitude, let’s call on all adults to show youth what it means to be thankful, especially for the relationships we share with them. Youth aren’t the only ones receiving the benefits.
However, this may require a shift in thinking for some. Our youth have been inundated with negative views of the world, especially during this politically charged season. Millions of dollars fund media pouring out negative content. Here are a few ideas for anyone working with youth.
- SHIFT from a Problem Focus to a Positive focus. Find their strengths and foster resilience by encouraging them to build on what they have, especially “time”.
- DON’T SEE YOUTH AS PROBLEMS BUT AS RESOURCES: Taking a few minutes to get their ideas on a topic can be invaluable. One of the best conversations I ever experienced was with attention deficit high school students who told me the best way to work with them would be.
- MOVE FROM A REACTIVE APPROACH TO A PROACTIVE ONE: Why wait until a crisis arises but look ahead to what is coming up and what would be a good way to respond. With small children, adults have to be the ones who look ahead.
- MOVE FROM BLAMING TO CLAIMING RESPONSIBILITY: We are all in this life together. Look for ways to work as a team at what we can change to make it better.
- MOVE FROM COMPETITION TO COOPERATION: Imagine if all the effort we spent getting youth to compete was spent in having them cooperate in tackling community needs.
REMEMBER, ALL ADULTS ARE INVOLVED IN ASSET BUILDING SO THANK YOU FOR ASSURING OUR ADULTS OF THE FUTURE WILL BE MATURE AND RESPONSIBLE…AND CARING.
Mary Ann Krems, Portage County Alliance for Youth, www.pcayouth.org, and Paul Vidas, President of Nvolved, Inc www.nvolved.com.