What do you want for the youth in your life? Who do you want them to become? Someone who is:
- Doesn’t give up easily
Whatever you wish for this younger person … they can learn these traits from you. Throughout childhood, the youth learn from the way others show and tell them. Interactions with others show and tell them about honesty, hard work, trust, perseverance, confidence, etc. You can help build these and other character traits by how and what you say and do.
When a young child or teenager is not displaying a beneficial behavior, keep in mind this is your opportunity to show and tell them a better way.
Haven’t you had an interaction that changed how you think not only in that moment but also in the future?
I’ve shared a story before about when I was 9 years old. I had just finished sewing a cross-stitch pillow, and I ran to my grandmother to show her I was done. I recall her being very proud of me, and then she saw a mistake in one small section of the pillow. She pointed it out, saying I wasn’t finished yet, that I needed to fix this one part. I resisted, even cried, saying “no one will ever notice.”
She said: “I noticed, told you, and now you know.”
She sat down with me, undid the sewing in that part, and handed it back to me to re-do it correctly. As she was undoing my work, she and I talked about how others may not notice the mistakes I make, but once I am aware of a mistake, it becomes my chance to do better. The exact words I don’t remember; the interaction I do remember.
The thoughts she instilled in my mind that day have been recalled throughout my life. I have thought about giving my best in the moment and accepting I may not always get it right. I can choose to correct and learn from my mistakes. By accepting my mistakes as learning opportunities, I allow myself to become better. Second, I am grateful to those who have been there to Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love me through these moments. I want to be someone who does the same for the youth in my life.
Have you had one of these conversations? Has someone interacted with you and whatever they said or did caused you to re-think, to make a better choice in the future? Didn’t they T.E.L.L. you? Didn’t they teach, encourage, listen, and love you in that moment? Can’t we all use interactions like this throughout life?
Today, if a young child or teenager is not displaying a beneficial behavior, it is your opportunity to show and tell them a better way. Have that conversation!