I had no idea what I was in for when I sat down with a group of high school kids last week.
As the four of us huddled with a question for each hanging between us, one beautiful dark-haired, blue-eyed girl with an energy of eager sincerity shared that the most significant decision she had had to make in the last six months was to decide whether she would live with her mother or her father. Another brown-eyed lovely with the demeanor of a “mean girl” proudly revealed that if we were to make a movie about her life, it would be a drama. She spoke of an abusive boyfriend, one she was still in love with, and underlying family drama that she despised. A thin young man who by all appearances, struggles with heartbreaking anxiety admitted through clenched teeth that he dreamed of being a comedian. The other, a big guy who proudly declared his Russian-born roots, confidently revealed that he was terrified of public speaking. His biggest decision was whether to be the best man at his brother’s wedding where over three-hundred people would be in attendance.
No One To Count On But Me
You might be thinking that all teenagers are full of angst and worry and dramas and that this is nothing new. But as the young girl forced to choose between her parents spoke, she punctuated her statement with her admission that hit me right in the gut. She said, “I realized I have no one to count on but me, so I made the best choice for myself.” Ouch. She is fifteen years old.
I was not at the school to counsel these kids. Instead, as a member of Toastmasters, International, I was there to coach them on public speaking. I was touched by their willingness to share their feelings and stories with me even as they eyed each other with suspicion. And I also noticed that the few words of compassion I offered seemed to create a mammoth change in the energy in our group. It ended up being an enjoyable relationship-building experience for all of us.
As I drove home, my mind raced back and forth between hope and despair and again to hope. Life is challenging at any age. None of us asked for the negative situations that we’ve experienced in our lives. However, as unwilling victims, each one of us is the only one possessing the ability to heal our “stuff.” Over the last couple of weeks, several people shared this article on why healing ourselves is our responsibility. It’s an easy read—one I hope you find interesting.
With that, I want to introduce a program I co-created with a fascinating friend. While I was out speaking on unleashing human potential by overcoming the effects of ACEs, she was building a mobile stress release experience. The two of us have teamed up to create a program called Breakthrough! We’re in the process of building a website, so in the meantime, please come on over to Facebook to check us out. We’ve got all kinds of activities brewing and an exciting partnership opportunity that will help spread our experience of personal healing on a much larger scale. I’ll keep you posted on that as it develops.
In the meantime, I hope you have a good week and that you always speak with kindness.