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Courage Magazine

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Empowerment for the Next Generation

Published by: Courage Network on 5th Sep 2010 | View all blogs by Courage Network

Originally published at

"Time's Up!"



By Lyn Twyman 

A quote from John F. Kennedy goes "We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last ". The future of our families and our country lies in our young people. We want our children to succeed. We want our young people to outlive us and become successful in every aspect of their lives. When it comes to protecting our young people and their hearts, not just in regard to love but their entire being, they are truly fragile. Remember when you were little how you looked for approval from your mom or dad, maybe an older brother or sister, or someone that you looked up to for things like a stick figure drawing you created, a mud pie or even the first level you beat in a Nintendo game? Our young people seek our approval which makes them budding sources of energy and change but also very vulnerable to bad influences.

If we want our young people to succeed we have to plot out a path that demonstrates success. Plotting that path does not mean that we are loaded with tons of money, the first and best of electronics nor does it mean that we force them into a career just to satisfy our own desires. It simply means that we lead by example, good examples that we live by that they can follow. No matter what, we are all creatures of repetition.

Psychologists call the first 10 years of a child's life The Magic Years. That is when a child will learn and develop who he/she is and his character. Often the essence of an individual, their temperament, their drive, their motivation becomes set for the remainder of their life during The Magic Years, that crucial window of opportunity for learning, growth and development. The Magic Years for a child largely formulates from their environment. As people, we will emulate follow what we see and hear that goes on around us good or bad.

How do we help this next generation not fall prey to violence, victimization and unhealthy relationships or become abusive? What do we want to tell the next generation about empowerment? What does empowerment consist of? Empowerment consists of the same areas we talk with victims of domestic violence about when we are trying to help them rebuild their lives. These areas are self esteem, healthy relationships, mental health, physical health, finances, education, self defense and spiritual well being. These should also be the same areas we work with our young people on as well to not only keep them from becoming victims but to live well rounded lives, healthy lives. These areas are often missing by many parents, just brushed over or completely skipped to let the young person play their favorite Xbox game, spend the day at the mall with the kid from school they barely know or maybe to avoid some personal guilt. As parents and caregivers of young people, we must live and operate proactively, not reactively, and by example.

Helping to empower this next generation also means that we should educate ourselves and show our young people that we are not afraid to learn, not that we know everything. So if you lack skills in the financial area schedule sometime with your local bank representative to learn how to save an invest better. If you do not know self defense, sign up for a class that you and your young person can take together. If you come from a background where your family life was abusive, go to a family counselor or holistic therapist for a few sessions to get a better understanding of how your past affects you.

Helping to empower our young people means coming out of our shells and stepping out on a much greater plain, challenging our own selves and perhaps some of our own demons. It is not an easy path but a path worth taking if we are truly concerned about giving our young people the tools to succeed in the immediate and throughout the rest of their life. For many children, younger and older, the knowledge and wisdom you have to share in the 8 areas I previously mentioned could be life or death. There will always be children that fail but at the end of each day ask yourself these questions, "Did I lead by example? Did I do everything I could do?" Let that be your guide to see how well you are working to empower this next generation.

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