Empowering Young People
This weekend I volunteered at a youth conference.
I saw many young people blossom during
the three days that we spent with them.
All the volunteers and staff who worked with the kids
put their hearts into inspiring them to believe in themselves.
For some of these kids this was the first time they had
received such positive messages and
experience powerful role models firsthand.
A Moment of Discouragement
There was something I witnessed that I didn’t like.
There was one person there who kept talking about how
when kids would express their dreams to him
he would ask them “What’s your backup plan?”
I felt this was a very negative and discouraging message
to give young people when they express their dreams to you.
A Dream Shared is a Big Responsibility
If a kid tells you what they want to do with their life,
if they share their dreams with you
and you don’t think it’s realistic,
don’t ask them what their backup plan is.
Just because you cannot dream, don’t destroy theirs.
Ok that came out a bit harsh,
but this is something that I’m very emotional about.
Help Kids Believe In Themselves
I believe our responsibility is to
help kids believe in themselves and their potential.
When we give them the message that
we don’t believe they can achieve their dreams
by suggesting that they have a backup plan for when they fail
we are causing serious damage to their self-confidence
and could possibly derail their plans for the future.
Inspire Them to Overcome Any Obstacle
Instead let us be a source of inspiration,
let us give them the message that we believe in them
and that we know they can overcome any obstacle
and achieve their dreams.
I know this person has a good heart
and was trying to do what they thought was best,
but when thinking about empowering young people
to make a difference in the world,
to live their dreams and chase their passions,
to believe that they can accomplish anything…
This is simply not the way.