Today I am focusing on Youth and my deep commitment to helping them know who they really are and feel confident in being themselves.
I’ve known for a long time that who we are is not the “data” about us. In fact the data is often extremely misleading. Let me share my data to illustrate. I was born to a teenage Mum and Dad who made the choice to give me up for adoption at birth. I am a mixed racial person, Chinese and German. I was adopted at 11 months by an English woman and Japanese man. This was in 1952 not long after World War Two and the internment of Japanese people. My adoption turned out to be a wonderful experience and they went on to adopt 5 other children, all mixed races.
In kindergarten my teacher realized I had some “learning challenges” which today we call dyslexia. Reversing letters and numbers resulted in constant “red ink corrections” and proved to me that I was not smart, despite what my parents told me. So who am I? The data would say I am a “illegitimate, mixed race child, given up by her birth parents and challenged to read, write and do arithmetic”. Not such a pretty picture! But this isn’t who I am, and clearly none of these things defined who I am or would become.
Today it’s so important we help children and teens know that their abilities, their ethnicity, religion, sexuality, even their experiences – like being bullied – do not define them. They often need support to let go of the impact of painful experiences, but this support is available. The pressure many teens feel academically and socially is something else they struggle with. Because we are so much more aware of the world and the global problems, the job challenges and the competition many teens feel it is just too much. Paradoxically, many people feel this next generation is the most aware, empathic and socially conscious of any generation. Let’s make sure they get the support they need to really step into their strengths and abilities.
For more information on how to support your son or daughter, please be in touch – we’d love to have a conversation with you.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson