Thursday, February 08, 2007

too much

in a previous post, i mentioned a kid i know that dropped out of school because of all the stress he was feeling. he is home schooling himself and taking classes at the local community college so he will continue his education. but, hopefully, in a less stressful way.

a couple other accounts come to mind. i know a young lady who is a top notch student and person. she's an excellent athlete playing soccer for a club team and her high school. she got involved with student council this last year. she's very social and everyone loves her. well, she was just caught cheating on a math test. this was so unlike her.

when asked why she did it she said it was because of all the pressure - the expectations that she felt has been put upon her. she didn't know the answers and has been telling the teacher, the school, and her parents that she didn't understand what they were trying to teach her. in hindsight, she thought that everything would come to a head by doing what she did. she said she expected to get caught.

another girl i know has decided not to try out for cheerleading next year. she will be a senior and has been a cheerleader the other three years of high school. she also has been a part of student council and just dropped out of that at the semester break. she just feels like it's too much to handle. she wants to simplify her life and cut down on the stress. here's someone who loves cheerleading but realized she needed to cut something out of her life and schedule.

it's the same way for my son. he's involved in several things - all good stuff. but all of them demanding in themselves. put them all together and it just gets to be too much. and what is a parent to do? we try very hard not to put any other stress on him but that's not always easy or realistic. he still needs to have responsibilites here at home. i don't know what the answer is. i guess as we go through this journey, i'll blog more about it and see if any answers arise.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

school stress

sorry i haven't blogged for awhile. hopefully, i'm back on track.

one reason i haven't written lately is that my own son has been struggling with stress and the demands that have been put upon him. i won't go into a lot of detail because it's personal and he'd kill me if he knew i was even writing this.

so what i will say is that he is in advanced classes in school and it's just been too much. he's a bright kid and has been committed to the heavy workload, but his limit has been hit. i think i've written about this before... i don't understand why schools/teachers give such a heavy work load to their students. it's like each teacher thinks that his/her class is the only one their student has. so they load up on the work like the kid has nothing better to do.

what about sports? what about other school activities such as drama or yearbook? what about work? what about church? what about a girl friend or boyfriend? what about friends? what about FAMILY? what about having a life?

how about giving the students a work load that makes them want to do the homework and projects and want to come to class each day. how about giving them something that encourages them to enjoy school. i think so many kids drop out just because they feel like they can't handle it all.

i'll write more tomorrow about some individual stories of kids i know. if you're a student, i'd love to hear your opinion on this subject.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

freedom writers

i saw a great movie today - freedom writers. i highly recommend it.

what makes it so great? it does a good job of showing us the plight of young students in an urban setting dealing with, not only, racial tension, but broken families in a broken world. maybe a world that a lot of us can't relate to and turn a blind eye to.

but it's great because of the story... because of one teacher who cared enough for her students to want to make a difference. did i mention that it's a true story? it takes place in long beach, california in 1994. so there was a real life person who's desire, to understand the youth in her world, so strong that it changed how she taught and had an everlasting impact on the students in her class. i consider her a hero, as well as the kids who made a choice to change their lives.

i can only imagine what kind of world we might live in if this was happening in more schools across the country.

"freedom is that instant between when someone tells you to do something and when you decide how to respond."
(dr. jeffrey borenstein)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

be ugly in 2007

i came across something today that i find interesting. it was an article in usa today (link) about the tv show, ugly betty, and a campaign started by abc to promote a positive message for young women; "be real, be smart, be passionate, be true to yourself and be ugly."

be ugly? i understand the basis of the tv show and i think the show is effective in conveying the message that beauty comes from within. that when we get to know someone and see beyond their outward appearances, we start to see them differently. and that's a beautiful thing. but i'm wondering how well a campaign will do when they use the phrase "be ugly."

i wish they could have used some other phrase. but i still like and support the vision of the campaign. young women need to be encouraged to be the other aspects of the slogan; real, smart, passionate, and true to themselves. for too long media and peers have told them that they need to be super thin and "beautiful" - which is such a relative thing for young people. young women need to feel comfortable with their looks and know that there is so much more to them than just their looks.

there's a website promoting the be ugly in 2007 campaign (link). i hope it does well. i'll be keeping an eye on it as well as what others are thinking about this. you can let me know what you think by leaving me a comment.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

why are you angry?

happy new year everybody. let's see if i can get back into the swing of posting to this blog.

i heard something today that i didn't really know or take into account. it was said that anger is just the outward manifestation of one, two, or all of these; hurt, fear, and frustration.

i've been thinking about this ever since i heard it. it makes a lot of sense. and i think about kids (and even adults) who i've judged as just having an "anger management" problem. i should have known it goes deeper than that.

hurt, fear, or frustration are emotions that we can have more empathy for. so next time you see someone who is expressing their anger, try to remember they are actually expressing something more and something deeper.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

the cries of their heart

you want to know what breaks my heart? kids who are hurting.

every month or so, a bulletin goes around on myspace where you're supposed to include a secret of your own into the ongoing list. it's supposed to be anonymous and that's why kids feel free to write whatever they feel. some of them are typical and what you might expect from a teenager. for example; "i like so-and-so."

but some of them aren't what you might expect. here are a few:

I want to die! I hate my life! My grades suck, my love life sucks, my friends don't know or don't care, I wonder if they would miss me. I don't think so. I'm dead inside, just not out. That is the worst feeling ever! I want to douse myself in kerosene and burn myself into ashes! I cut a lot just to make myself feel better but it doesn't last. I wish I was dead. my life isn't worth it.

2 of my brothers have molested me.

ppl think im happy..but everyday i wonder about how nice it would be to be dead

I starve myself cause I think he will notice me once I am skinny.

i hate every inch of me

i cut - i cry - i want the pain to stop

My rents don't care about me. Do yours?

here are the cries of some teenagers. i don't know who they are. but i could guess that these kids aren't abnormal. what i mean is that they aren't representing a small statistic when it comes to today's teenagers. i actually think they represent a large number. this sort of avenue gives them the opportunity to share a secret in a safe, anonymous place. these are the cries of their heart.

added note: this type of method of sharing secrets isn't limited to teens. a very popular site is postsecret, where people of all ages share their inner most secrets. by reading the different posts found on this site, we realize that we all have more in common than we think. again, the secrets shared represent a larger statistic of the general public rather than a small one.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

avoiding the tough conversations

i just read this article about parents not feeling comfortable conversing with their teenagers, especially regarding tough issues. a lot of it rings true from my own personal interaction with teens and with parents.

i agree with the article where it says, "this poll reinforces a disconcerting trend we're seeing with parents today. too many parents are avoiding tough conversations -- or tough stances -- because they're afraid of jeopardizing their relationship with their teen." but the article also says, "according to a new survey by vital-smarts, most parents of teens indicate that they are even afraid to talk to their teens about everyday issues."

how sad. i know as a parent, the threat of jeopardizing the fragile relationship between parent and child is always worrisome. but why can't a parent talk about everyday issues? are they worried the conversation will veer into dangerous territory? and what if it does? how about looking at that as a bonus to the conversation. if they have questions or are struggling with something, wouldn't you want them to come to you instead of one of their peers or even worse, to a bottle of beer or a drug of some sorts?

our kids need to know that their parents are there for them during everyday life and also during their struggles and challenges. don't shy away from your kids. don't shy away from the conversations - hard or not. be the parent. your kids will actually appreciate it and benefit greatly.

read the entire article by clicking here

About me

  • I'm youthworker4all
  • From colorado, United States
  • i am a youthworker. it's not what i do - it's who i am. i am passionate about helping today's teenagers find their way through their world. i wish more adults understood this world and would reach out to our youth. what a different world this would be.
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