Let’s Show Them the Way

In looking at thcoupleis month’s calendar, October has a lot of nationally recognized days.

While they are all very important causes, I would like to talk about domestic violence awareness month. Historically, domestic violence was widely known to impact women and men, but we are seeing increased abuse against young women in dating situations.

According to Break the Cycle’s website, one in three teens and young adults experience some form of dating abuse. In addition, 56% of teens and young adults report experiencing abuse through digital and social media.

Violence on any level is unthinkable, but violence among youth is extremely troubling. A young woman’s childhood should be a carefree life of fun, friendships and trying new and exciting things.

As parents, educators, community activists, and interested parties, we have to help our youth. We need to explain to these young women that abuse on any level, by any one, is not ok. We need to encourage them to report abuse and to explain that healthy relationships are not hurtful, embarrassing or demeaning.

I’m not sure what the answer is to help our young women, but seeing healthy male/female relationships and building confidence and self-esteem is a start. We can no longer allow these young women to suffer in silence. While they may use makeup to cover bruises or scars, self-esteem can’t be covered up. I also think that as women, we should feel obligated to live healthy lifestyles in front of girls. When you’re healthy and whole, there are challenges and circumstances that may present themselves, but you don’t allow them to permeate your sphere of influence. I recently heard Susan L. Taylor, former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine say, “hurt people, hurt people.” Let’s show the young girls that love doesn’t hurt.

Three Simple Words

SPR2010_CloseUps16The hustling and bustling of the holiday season is in full swing and so are the sales designed to entice us to purchase the latest and greatest or the new and improved!  Everyone likes a bargain. Just look at the lines outside of major retailers for Black Friday sales.

During this holiday season, let’s remember those who mean the most to us.  It is so easy with our busy lives to take those closest to us for granted.  When is the last time you’ve said, I appreciate you? Or, thank you.

There can be a lot of emotion and meaning wrapped up in those three simple words, “I appreciate you.”  Everyone wants to know that what they do and who they are matters.

Try as I’d like, I’m sometimes guilty of not telling those around me, how much I appreciate them.  Then I remind myself, that at the very core of who we are, we all want to make a difference.

We want to feel appreciated because those feelings are the basis of our internal value and sense of worth.  On the contrary, without those values we move around in life seeking our worth, esteem and confidence from people or circumstances that are not healthy.

I’m reminded of the stages of a child learning to walk.  First they learn to crawl. Once that task has been mastered, they start pulling up on furniture.  As their confidence builds, they begin to take their first few steps falling less and less as their confidence continues to build and then they start walking but, our admonishments cannot stop at the toddler stage.

Working with young women and girls, I see the importance of making sure that our youth understand that we appreciate them.  Just as the toddler’s confidence grows when they see what can be accomplished with the support of a parent, what more can be accomplished from today’s youth? With that reassurance, we mature into self-confident adults who feel like we can accomplish anything.

‘I appreciate you’ can make a huge impact in the development of today’s youth. Imagine how they feel when faced with a decision that comes with huge consequences and they have the confidence, and self-worth to make a good choice.

As we wrap up another year, let’s challenge ourselves to encourage those around us by saying, those three simple words, I appreciate you!

Happy holidays!