Promoting the Power of the Positive
Kids spend 13+ years at school, and their experiences there help shape who they become. That is why we at HEROs feel it is so important to be a support to schools — and why we’d like to encourage you to support them, too.
So many things influence kids today: parents and family, teachers, peers, media and social media, to name just a few. Kids are faced with difficult choices, some of which can be life-changing. We want kids to have a strong foundation of values, decision-making and conflict resolution skills, and adults they can turn to when faced with these difficult choices.
Ways you may support kids:
• Be there. Find ways to be with kids. It might not be your first choice to watch a SpongeBob Squarepants cartoon, but it just might give you an opening for a conversation and maybe you can talk about a time when you did something as silly as SpongeBob, and the consequences you were faced with.
For older kids, time alone in the car with them can be a great place for a conversation. You’ve both got a “captive” audience, and when one of you has eyes on the road, it may make it easier to have more sensitive discussions.
• Be present. When kids want to talk with you, seize the moment, as you never know when or if it might come again. If kids choose you to be their listener/consultant, it means they trust you and value your input. If you show your interest, concern and are really “present” (giving them 100 percent of your attention), it is likely that they will “consult” you again.
• Be quiet. We have all seen it — the point when someone “checks out” of a conversation. To avoid this, make a plan for a conversation: 1) what is my objective? 2) what are my feelings/emotions about this topic (and how might they impact the conversation)? 3) what are the other person’s feelings/emotions about this topic?
As you have the conversation, keep these three factors in mind, and notice when it’s time to be quiet. Give yourself permission to have some time to process and/or abort the conversation and continue at another time.
• Be aware. There is a delicate balance in being an involved adult in a kid’s life and in letting them live their lives. A good place to start is by being aware of “who” and “what” are happening in a kid’s life. Watch for changes in behavior or habits. Ask questions, but don’t interrogate.
Although this is short list of ways to help kids, it is an important one. Every time we have a positive connection with kids, we are helping to fill them up emotionally. We can all make a difference in kids’ lives … find the way that you can make a difference.
Promoting the Power of the Positive is a monthly column by the Waconia HEROs Coalition. This month’s column was written by Chelle Vogel of the coalition’s School Sector.