"Works well with others."
"Grasps core concepts."
"Is a leader in the classroom."
"Demonstrates hard work to succeed."
The start of a new semester means the end of the previous semester, which also means it is report card time. Hopefully, your student's report card contained comments like those listed above. Perhaps the format of report cards that your student receives is different and does not include a "comments" section.
It might be tempting to look at the ABCs that appear and think that is all that matters. While grades can be an indicator of the outcome of work done in school, there are a lot of qualities that can be overlooked that went into that grade. There are also showers of synonyms to use to describe a student's behaviors at school. As a student progresses into a graduate, these descriptive words will become part of their resumes and job applications, and will become their first impression. In other words, they will be having a different type of report card, one that can hopefully shape their future in a direction they desire.
Working well with others displays teamwork
Being able to grasp core concepts shows competence
A leader in the classroom is an innovator in the work place
Hard work speaks for itself.
When things happen that we do not understand, we have a hard time accepting them. The same holds true for beliefs that are so opposite to our own, or for people that we do not like. An automatic reaction is to push them aside, criticize them, or fight with them. All of these responses take a toll on energy and enjoyment of life.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but when we offer acceptance to these situations, we take some of the struggle away. By acknowledging that some things are outside of our control, we can then shift our focus, energy, and action onto the things that we can control. One approach to change, as proposed by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), helps this to be understood. Some examples include:
As you can see in the second options, acceptance does not have to mean approving or liking what is going on. It does mean that you refuse to add struggle to an already difficult situation. Accepting what is provides clarity to help free up direction for what steps need to be taken. It also helps you build character and act based on values rather than on drama or emotion.
How can you practice acceptance (and commitment!) today?
Each year, people of all ages decide that there are changes that they would like to see in their lives. While making these resolutions, it is possible to forget that making and achieving goals is an ongoing process. It is also a science and an art. Sometimes life makes things easier, and sometimes it works against us. Sometimes you reach your goals, while other times you fail within the first week of trying.
There are a number of methods to help outline strategies and work toward goal completion, and finding the one that works for you and the youth in your life is the key to success. Here are a few suggestions as the New Year approaches (and inevitably continues):
So this year, why not try blending a few of these approaches. If you consider the running examples, some people might be motivated by reaching a specific goal, then continuing to push to improve. Others might reach the 7 minute mark and quit training. There are also those who would rather focus on improving their mile time without having a set goal in mind at all.
Having awareness and flexibility to build your desired lifestyle will serve you, and the youth in your life, as you continue to experience success throughout the whole year...and maybe even into the next.
"What good is the warmth of Summer,
without the cold of Winter to give it sweetness."
- John Steinbeck
Winter starts on December 21st. This day marks the Winter Solstice, or the "shortest day" of the year. While it still has 24 hours, the amount of daylight on this day is the shortest it will be the whole year.
The seasons and cycles of Earth bring many lessons. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, cold weather, snow, and a lack of sunshine can make Winter seem miserable. However, it is an important time of the year to help nature set up for Spring and Summer. The same can be said of life. When you are experiencing a season of undesirable outcomes, keep in mind that seasons do not last all year, and this period of life will not last either.
Understanding the rhythm of life can be very helpful as you plan your commitments. Being aware of how you - and your loved ones - handle the changes in life can be beneficial. For example, if you find yourself getting cabin fever or feeling more sad in Winter, you might need to re-boot your schedule to help set yourself up for success. The sooner you can do this, the better! This applies year round, as well, for a variety of circumstances. Get anxious during tests? Feel your anger rise up when you are around certain people? Remembering these patterns, accepting them, and then planning for them in advance can help you save unnecessary struggle.
What might a re-boot look like for youth this Winter?
For youth in school, it might look like making sure they have access to warm clothing so they can be outside and active, while also staying safe and warm. It might also include providing activities that can be done indoors, such as art or learning new life skills. Winter is also a great time to start a new weekly tradition, like a family game night.
Remember, Winter will not last forever, but it does offer some unique experiences that can make memories and build lessons - all which work together to help make your youth prepared for each season and event in life.
As High School approaches, it is time for youth to begin thinking about building a resume. This resume will explain the activities, accomplishments, and skills to future employers or higher education. One question that many youth ask is: How do I gain experience to fill out my resume?
With Thanksgiving out of the way and other Holidays on the horizon, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities that can get your youth, and yourself, involved. Participating in regular community service helps youth in a variety of ways:
Once a youth is of working age, it is a great idea to get a job and still maintain some community service in their schedule. You can set an example by participating with them, or by maintaining your own volunteer commitments. Build even more growth opportunities by discussing what they learned or experienced each day.
The upcoming Holiday is a prime time to reflect on the previous year. You might find yourself sitting around the table with loved ones, or you might be celebrating alone. Perhaps you do not participate in Thanksgiving. No matter what your Holiday traditions are, the benefits to practicing gratitude are being researched. These include:
This year, why not start a habit of practicing "Grattitude," that is, having an attitude where gratitude is at the heart of your outlook. What would this look like?
These activities can be done at all ages, and there are more that can be done, specifically for youth. Work some into your lifestyle and see what you can learn and experience.
School to Career Progressions is honored to help teach youth to gain awareness and put a positive spin on their life experiences, to help them gain character that will help them succeed in their lives.
Every four years, our country has the opportunity to vote to elect a President. Elections bring out strong opinions and many conversations, and as Election Day (November 8) gets closer, the whole country is on edge about what the future will entail.
November is also the month in which our country celebrates Thanksgiving. This is an interesting fact as elections can often tear people apart, but this month also encourages us to come together and share our appreciation for what we have in life. Thanksgiving can also remind us of the History of our country; issues of race, war, abortion, jobs, justice, and immigration have been around as long as America has.
While your youth might be too young to vote, it is never to early to start inviting them to make educated choices. This November, here are a few topics that can be raised with your youth:
While your youth might be too young to vote, it is never too early to invite them to build their character as an active and educated citizen. Allow them to express their opinions without judgment, then ask questions and provide a variety of resources that can help them to further learn and understand these issues further. You might even learn a thing or two in the process...
In order to reach a human's top potential, there are many factors that need to be considered. Countless theories exist, linking environment, genetics, and a slew of other variables. One such theory is proposed by Abraham Maslow. His model shows a pyramid - a Hierarchy of Needs - that details components of human motivation. The base holds the most basic and necessary of needs, in which he placed physiological needs such as having food, water, and healthy air.
Too often we neglect the important role that food and nutrition can play in our success.
By inviting youth to participate in the shopping and preparation of the food they consume, they can slowly acquire skills and habits that can benefit them as adults. Theoretically, this will mean that when they leave the home, they will know how to budget for groceries, plan a meal, keep food safely stored, and of course, cook a meal.
As the seasons change, it is an excellent opportunity to pay attention to the types of food that are being made in your home. Some ideas on how to include youth include:
One of the biggest differences between Elementary and Middle School is that there is no longer structured time for play. Developmentally, this might seem appropriate, as Middle Schoolers are beginning to blossom into young adults. However, the benefits of recess should be carried through to these years - and beyond - as well. These benefits include:
It may not be possible to add recess into your middle schooler's day but you can do some of these things:
Our goal is to empower youth as they grow into High Schoolers and beyond. By teaching them that life can incorporate appropriate breaks and free time, they can learn to organize time well, and to enjoy the time they have.
The advantages of reading not only appear in academics, but in social, artistic, and other areas of a youth's life. While movies and television shows can provide educational material that provides an escape and an opportunity to explore other perspectives and habitats, there are few things that can spark imagination like a book.
Entering "reasons to read" into an online search engine yields plenty of results that can encourage youth - and adults - to spend more time with literature. Whether you check out a paper book from a library or buy a book on your reader, here are some reasons to read:
The reasons are truly endless, and so is the list of books that can be recommended. A good place to start for your middle school aged student can be this list of 10 Books Every Middle Schooler Should Read. This list provides books that offer the above perks, plus lessons that youth can learn such as compassion, courage, and the influence of relationships.
Find your local library and start your own list of favorite books today!