Mindful Mondays: Empowering Youth
By Cheryl Klem, MA, LMFT
Mrs. Day, Teri, Arnold, Bill, Roy, Ed, and my family are some of the individuals on a long list of people in my life of who made a lasting impact because of their encouragement. You’ve never met them, but if you have met me, you have experienced parts of each of them.
You see, all of us have two things at our disposal that can have tremendous power and leave a lasting impact on others. Our beliefs and our words. When we believe others to be capable, able to find solutions to tough problems, competent to know and handle their emotions, and clever enough to see past the obstacles in front of them, they begin to believe those things too. And when we tell others, “you’ve got this,” “this has been so hard and I know you, and you will find a way and make it better,” or “you are always the one who can come up with creative ideas,” our words build into their sense of self.
On the contrary, when we jump in to solve others issues, tell them how they should and should not feel, feed negativity, stifle their positive outlook, and point out the hurdles as they are trying to jump, they are more likely to stop short of their potential or at least be more frustrated in the process.
All of us need people in our lives who build us up and each of us need to work towards becoming people who encourage and expect the best in others.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
This is never more true than when people are going through hard times and there is more rough terrain ahead. A time of great discouragement requires extra encouragement. This is especially true for our youth who are developmentally learning how to think more critically and are gaining their sense of self-agency. Our beliefs and words poured into them at this time will have a lasting impression. Be mindful when you use these powerful tools that one day when they go into the world to work, have families, and attempt to make a difference, they will be bringing a part of you with them.