Time to ask, ‘What makes us awesome’

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

If you are struggling in your relationship with a teenager or have a senior that will graduate this year, you must read any books by Patricia Hoolihan.
Recently I came across one of her quotes that might re-define how we see things today. “A pat on the back, though only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, is miles ahead in results.” – Bennett Cerf
There was a time when we praised kids so much, we were worried about damaging them, but now I wonder if we have let the pendulum swing too far the other way.
In 2013, two high school students Faith Glasco and Elizabeth Hjelvik started, “The Wall of Awesome,” in Los Alamos. I am proud that their efforts still continue on a smaller scale today, but I am asking you to take it one step further.
Take a minute this week to ask your kids one of two questions…or both would be great. What makes you awesome? What makes life awesome?
The answers might just surprise you and they may struggle, just make sure you pause long enough to make them think about it. I also suggest you have an answer for them when they have nothing.
Last week, I watched the big XQ Live event about schools and re-defining schools. Often, we think it has to happen only when someone gives us a large hunk of money, we construct a new building, hire a bunch of new people or start a bunch of new programs.
It really comes down to the simplicity of engagement and being involved in education as an entire family, a community and a school community. If we want our youth to care about school, we have to care with them, for them and about them and their success.
We have to remember that every student doesn’t necessarily have someone that gives a darn about them and if they are successful. Many of our youth struggle daily and sometimes it feels like there will never be a level playing field.
No, we can’t solve every problem, but we can start with love, understanding and compassion, even if we can’t change much. We can understand that a little kindness can go a long way.
So, if you know a teacher and have a few extra dollars, give them a box of fruit snacks for the student they notice needs a little something. Have a conversation with your child to see if they have a friend that sits with them at lunch, never eats and thrown in an extra snack to share.
I don’t have all of the answers, but it doesn’t take much to see a lot. We have to start somewhere and do our part to make things better.
Have an idea or suggestion, share it with us at cya.org@att.net.