Who am I? Without positive identity our children feel powerless, and that means that they are vulnerable to people who do not have their best interests at heart. How many times have you heard people talk about someone having a low self-esteem when the choices that he/she makes end up hurting them, are risky or dangerous? When our children feel safe, when they feel confident and comfortable in their own skin they are not afraid to take a safe risk like a new job, going to college, or pursuing their dreams.
The world is meant to be explored, to be touched, felt, tasted, heard and seen, but when children do not feel safe they become isolated and their fear paralyzes them. You don’t have to be a child to be affected by low self-esteem, lack confidence or be fearful of the world around you. Adults experience these same things, especially when something traumatic has happened. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a sad example of what happens when our brains are overwhelmed and stressed with too much stimuli.
The 40 developmental assets are about building a firm foundation for our youth. Our children are struggling with day to day issues, their brains are being bombarded with excessive amounts of stimuli, and somewhere in the shuffle and business of our lives we as parents have lost the joy of parenting. I challenge you to sit down and talk with your child, like you would if you didn’t know him. Years ago when my youngest twin, Trent, was a teenager as part of an assignment I interviewed him. Our teacher warned us that in order to really get a child talking you would have to be patient and break through that first wall or apathy and resistance the one word reply comment wall. I spent two hours really re-learning about my child, what he thought about school, certain teachers, that he had cheated on a test and why he cheated. It really opened my eyes and I believe that that experience made me a better more attentive parent.
I know that it was instrumental in how we communicate today. I love my children more than I can ever say, but I had to remind myself that my children are more than my children they are individuals and that the doors of communication need to always be used to keep the lines open.
This is the end of my Developmental Assets blogs, I will be off on vacation for two weeks, and hope that you will consider helping with some ideas for my next set of blogs.