Be the One that Believes in Them...
I was a high school junior when I started talking to my parents about going to college. I absolutely loved high school, somewhat for the social aspect and somewhat for playing sports. My dad would always remind me that I needed to take my studies more seriously. They had high expectations of balancing school and sports. I was never allowed extra curricular activities unless my grades were good.
When the conversation came to college, he said "Ryan, college is not for everyone and I don't think school is for you." I was taken aback. Here I was, a very motivated and very determined individual who had just been deflated by his dad. Since that conversation, the words have played over and over in my head. To this day, I am not sure what exactly my dad meant. Was he trying to motivate me? Did he really not think I was college material?
I knew that I wanted more education, even though I was unclear on what I would be getting be degree in. Luckily for me, I had others in my life that believed in me. We all need someone in our corner. We all need a cheerleader. We need to find people that believe in us. The phrase, I believe in you, is a powerful praise for kids.
We as educators have so much power to influence our students. These students enter our schools each day, knowing that they are coming to a safe place where learning takes place. We need to build our students up and be aware of not saying things that tear them down. When counseling students on life and how certain behaviors impact what is going on, I always tell them that I believe in them. Its true, I do.
Not every kid has a parent at home that believes in them. Some kids have parents that say things that the child does not know how to interpret. The least we can do at school is to believe in our students. Have them know that they can do whatever they put their efforts in to. It is not always easy and there will be many bumps along the way, but we all need a little support.
Choose your words wisely. If we are not careful, statements can be misconstrued and then students are guessing at what you meant. Be clear, be precise, be their cheerleader.
Be the one that believes in others and opens their eyes to endless possibilities.