Tuesday, December 9, 2008
We all hold certain beliefs that we feel strongly about. One of mine, based on my experience, is that the teens of today show great promise of being our leaders of tomorrow and that they are much more caring and compassionate than what many believe.
In working with the students of Project: Inside Out, I get to see up close and personal what these kids are made of. Outwardly we adults may have concerns that teenagers only care about themselves and are naturally disrespectful or selfish. It's true we often see some teens behaving that way in the media and sometimes even in our streets. You may even witness some negative behaviors in your homes. What I consistently see, however, is that there is much more to each student than what we often see.
The basis of my belief that there is much to be admired and gratefully acknowledged is based on seeing them show up authentically. When there is a safe space for them to gather, knowing they will not be judged, teased or compared, I see them shine. If there is sometimes negative behaviors that show up in their homes or schools, I believe they are acting out in fear....A fear of losing something, perhaps even their self-respect. In response they may act out aggressively, believing this is their only way to survive and to improve their situations. When a student knows they have greater, more positive powers within that can help them deal with difficult situations in a peaceful way that is in alignment with who they really are, everyone wins.
The topics of our discussions in our sessions with Project: Inside Out cover what I see as being the basic tenets of leadership.....compassion for self and others, owning your own natural gifts and strengths and seeing them in others, awareness of prejudices and assumptions we and others hold, communicating while caring what someone has to say, rather than having to have the last word and being empowered rather than holding your power over another.
I just completed work with my 13th group of students and once again was moved to tears at the natural kindness, consideration and desires they hold in having a positive impact on the world.
So if you have any concerns of this generation, I can encourage you to relax and to look more closely for the goodness in each student. I believe, without question the world will be in good hands.
For more info check out: http://www.projectinsideout.org/