This Kid Gets It
When I didn’t answer a former advisee’s phone call last week, I received a text that included the following:
“i’m going through one of the roughest times in my life…”
I called him right back.
When I asked him what happened, he told me about his week and how he experienced the biggest failure of his life. Word about it was getting around his community, and he felt embarrassed, alone, and disappointed in himself. He felt like he let a lot of people down, and his failure clawed at a big piece of his identity.
(How many of us adults have learned to not play full out so that we can avoid such a failure?)
After making sure he expressed everything on his mind that there was for him to express, I asked him the Big Question:
“Who are you?”
He took a deep breath, then he jumped in:
“I’m ___. I care about people. I express myself. I want people to be happy and feel good about themselves. I love people and I love my life. I work hard and I don’t accept defeat.”
He jumped in without hesitation. He re-created who he is on the spot. He was honest, authentic, and connected to the positive aspects of his character that he knows makes a difference.
How many of us adults can do the same? How many of us can create such powerful declarations, even in the face of defeat, uncertainty, and disappointment?
I then did a quick measurement and decided that the kid was ready to hear it. I said:
“I know that this has been a really tough experience for you, but I gotta be honest: I think that it’s a good thing that this happened. It’s good because you’re not going to back down in the face of defeat. You’re going to grow from this. You’re going to be better, more grounded, more clear, and more powerful because of this experience. You’re going to change the world, and this minor defeat is a reminder that NOTHING can stop you from having your positive impact on the world.”
The kid transformed. He was back in his power, and he was grateful and clear. He knew there would be gold in his "defeat," he just needed support and a reminder of how to access it.
We educators are so lucky to have the opportunity to work with young people. They get it, and they get it fast.
We adults have a lot of love to give the world too. We’ve just got more barriers to expressing and experiencing it.
I’m on a mission to light us all up with the insight and power that comes from knowing who we are, what we're really committed to, and that there's no such thing as defeat when we're living authentically.
Thanks so much for reading. ❤️