Teaching an attitude of gratitude
In an age where technology appears to rule the day and the sky is virtually the limit in what we can achieve, I often find that many of our youth seem to have the most difficulty adapting to their new roles in life. They are often overwhelmed by the challenges and uncertainty of the times, so much so that I have observed that many of them don't even try. They have become complacent and easy to lead. It is easy for those of us, ripened with time and experience, to wonder how these feelings of lack and overwhelm can be so prolific in our youth.
Ever heard that old adage about earning a degree at the College of Hard Knox? Those are some of the best life lessons well spent. For those of us who have been there, we might have some words of wisdom to share. We have seen and experienced what curve balls life can throw our way. Because of the encounters that many of us have experienced in the past, we just might be the perfect mentors to our youth during these difficult times if they are willing to listen to our words about the life lessons that we have faced. I am sure there are many wise people who have sound advice to offer those who need it the most.
So how do we help them create an attitude of gratitude even when the chips are stacked against them? Though it is an easy question to ask, the answer is not always so straightforward. That is when your life lessons can come in handy. In a lot of cases, you or someone you know may have faced a similar situation when the burdens of life just seemed too much to bear. How did you or another individual make it past the hurdle? What mental and proactive strategies did you employ to overcome these trials? Remember, there are no "right" or "wrong" answers only suggestions to help mentor those who need it. Teaching an attitude of gratitude - no matter what the circumstances may be - is the definitive sentiment to encourage in these desperate times.
Timing is also always the key. Knowing when to say something is equally as important as lending the guidance itself. Obviously, you need to search for body signals to determine the most appropriate time to speak with the young adult(s) in your life. Deep inside that mind is a battle of the wits. S/he is still trying to gain her/his footing as to where s/he is, where s/he wants to be, and ultimately, how s/he is going to arrive there. If you jump too quickly, you may feed them fear. If you wait too long, they may simply give up.
Wait for an opportune time to share your own life stories - not to dismiss the real emotions and experiences of the young adult in your life - but to make them aware of the fact that s/he is not the only one going through such adversity and tough times. Help the youth understand that there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel; and that no matter what life hands her/him, that person will come out of it okay if s/he is willing to go the distance and appreciate the blessings that have been placed in front of them.
In the end, we are merely the watch tower in the bay. We can offer light and a pathway. The journey, however, is for the young adult alone to pave. These will be their life lessons well spent with gratitude.