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Posted: August 23, 2019, 12:00am by Kathleen Nelson-Simley
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Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together

“I want to be a nurse. I’m going to be a fireman. I want to be a professional basketball player.” Ask elementary-age youth what they want to be when they grow up and they have quick and definite answers. They have hope and optimism for their future.

Ask middle school youth the same question and you may still hear similar answers, but you will also hear comments such as, “I don’t know” or “whatever”. Starting in the middle school years a sense of hopelessness, apathy and discouragement can set in with some youth. The clear vision they once had for their future is now blurry or completely gone. Research shows that kids who “don’t know” what they want in their future or “don’t care” anymore are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.

In last week’s masterclass, One Thing You Can Do to Instill Hope and Prevent Vaping, I introduced a prevention strategy called “Idealism.” This strategy has proven to keep kids from engaging in risky behaviors – including drinking alcohol, smoking, vaping, misusing opioids, fighting and being sexually active.

It’s a strategy, when implemented effectively, can give even the “I don’t know or I don’t care” kids a vision of their future, their own personal reasons for NOT engaging in risky behaviors, an understanding of the personal consequences to them if they DO engage in risky behaviors AND best of all, a sense of hope for their future.

In this week’s blog, Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together, I tell the story of PJ, a 7th grade All Stars student, who had idealism. I also offer ways you can begin to work on idealism with your students.

But, if you want an in-depth understanding of Idealism and a research-based proven process to achieve it with middle and high school students, then you will want to watch a recording of last week’s masterclass.

We covered a lot of ground in a short 60 minutes, like…

· What is Idealism

· Tips for Visioning With Kids

· The Challenges Idealism Can Overcome AND How It Benefits Kids

· The Importance of Thinking About An Ideal Future Over Just "Any Future"

· The Four Things You Need to Get an Ideal Future

· How Building Idealism Requires a Well Thought-Out Process (and isn't a one-shot "did it and done" deal Take some time and watch the Masterclass!

Can you think of a student who you work with or knew had the opportunity to engage in risky behaviors, but didn’t, because there was something more important they wanted in their future instead and they didn’t want to risk not getting or losing it?

If so, then this was idealism at work with that student!

Ensuring ALL of your kids have idealism is important for so many reasons – but one is to keep them from doing risky things.

Your job is to help them figure out for themselves what they want to see in their vision for their future, determine what they need to do and not do to get it, and then, want it bad enough to not risk losing it by engaging in risky behaviors.

I know it’s easier said than done. But, read my blog and watch my masterclass and I’ll show you how you can do it.

Happy Visioning!

P.S. The re-play link for the masterclass is only live until next Tuesday, September 27. So, watch the Masterclass now!

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