At LEAP Foundation DC, we talk a lot about being the example that minority youth in and around Washington, D.C., need. Without figures in their lives to demonstrate what can be achieved with hard work and dedication, many are unable to find the path that will lead them to success.
Americans are facing troubling times. And as we all do our part to stop the continued spread of #COVID19, there is one thing we could spread a little more of: POSITIVITY. It’s easy to become discouraged during current times. All around us, healthy people are becoming sick, many hospitalized and some dying. And we continue to recognize that we are a world away from where we need to be when it comes to addressing the devastating effects of systemic racism.
We don’t know what is to come, but what we do know is that as our youth struggle with their own anxieties, restarting school and sports, and that they could use some encouragement. Read on to see how you can be a living example of positivity during a time when just about everything seems to be going wrong.
Practice gratitude. Find the good in every situation and let it be known that you appreciate the things you have, rather than hold resentment for the things you don’t.
Outreach. For some, these are lonely times. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call, text or card in the mail to brighten someone’s outlook on the current situation. And it only takes a spark to get a fire going!
Share. Conversations have double doors. We all have feelings, emotions, fears and past experiences. Be sure to open the doors of communication by being up front about all that makes you human – good and bad.
Inspire. Find your talent and use it for good. Have a way with words? Can you create a masterpiece with an ink pen and a blank canvas? Find a way to create inspiration in a way that a young person can easily connect with.
Tune in. Oftentimes with youth, the hints and clues that something is amiss are barely audible, but they often form a pattern, so stay tuned in and react when necessary. This not only will cultivate a trusting relationship, but it will also send a message that he or she is understood.
Ignite. We all have passions and those passions often start at a young age. Take some time to really get to know the young person in your life and then ignite a spark that is the fire he or she needs to reach for the stars.
Visualize. Help the youth in your life get out of a cycle of negativity by pointing out the positive effects of visualization. Envisioning a world that is healthy, vibrant, tolerant and united allows us to create a plan for action to be a part of the change we so desperately need.
Imagination. Ever watch a toddler play? They can spend hours creating an imaginary world that is full of excitement, happiness and satisfaction. We’re not saying to turn a blind eye to world events, we’re just saying that it’s important to look away once in a while. This could be as simple as recommending a good book, movie or activity to enjoy a bit of escapism.
Take action. It’s all too easy to sit around and watch the world react, but taking action ourselves allows us to be a part of the solution in a productive way. Even if the action is small, becoming involved is a great way to set a positive example for a young person.
YOLO. Today’s generation believes that “you only live once” and it would do many of us some good to seek out the value in this. While it is important to create a line between safe and dangerous risks – like skydiving or trying a new food and smoking or driving recklessly, part of the enjoyment of life is in the discovery of new things. Don’t live life in a shell – take a healthy risk!