Changing the Game Project shared my recent message. Here it is:
One of my local friends here is what I would consider a “teen whisperer.” he is a great human being, a coach, and really connects with high school age students and athletes. His name is Josh Cordell (learn more about him here). The other day he had a Facebook post that I absolutely loved and asked him if I could share. He said yes, so here you go, these are some wise words:
“An update on the kids… it isn’t good. Age, time and experience play a big role in our perspective. This perspective can give us resiliency and the ability to bounce back from not getting the things that are important to us. Our kids don’t have the benefit of age, time or experience, and so missing out on the things they love right now is hitting them hard.
The senior that is missing their opportunity to play the sport or do the activity that they love with their friends (and it is crushing them), the freshmen that was so looking forward to being in the high school building (but now doesn’t even want to go), the sixth-grader that just wants to play volleyball and have sleepovers (but can’t). I talk to many of these kids… and they are struggling.
Not every young person that I talk to is suffering, some have found their groove and the current situation actually works well for them. But that is certainly the slim minority of my kids. The majority of them are having a hard time.
So what can we do for them? This isn’t an exhaustive list of course and I don’t claim to have all of the answers, but it’s a start:
• Give them outlets.
– Outlets to talk and vent their frustrations.
– Outlets to get exercise and feel accomplishment.
– Outlets to be with friends and feel normal.
– Outlets to experience new things and breakup the routine.
• Make sure they know that they are loved.
– Tell them you love them.
– Show them you love them.
– Make sure that “being loved” is part of their identity.
• Check in on them regularly.
– Don’t get caught by surprise because you haven’t been asking them how they are doing.
– Set up a line of communication where you listen and ask questions, specifically, “tell me more about that!?”
• Recruit additional positive voices and sets of ears.
– It’s powerful to have the positive things you are telling your kids reinforced from someone else.
– My kids that I meet with have so much to tell me.
– They need lots of available, sympathetic ears.
– Not having in-person teachers and less time with sports coaches means fewer positive adult influences… find some for them.
Our kids need us right now. Let’s not let our own adjusting to these circumstances cloud our vision and keep us from seeing that they may not have adjusted as well as we think they have. Let’s be there for them. Many of them are not doing well. It is urgent that we do what we can to help them!”
What Josh has found echoes my experiences right now as well. Even as they trickle back to school and sport, many kids are really struggling. We all just need to pay attention, be intentional, and be there for them. Thanks.