Our youth are the most valuable renewable resource that we have and we need to spend time and money investing in them and their futures. Our job as educators, business professionals, parents and community leaders is to develop them into successful adults. Here are three keys to developing the leaders of tomorrow.
1. The "Why": Youth need to know the reason "why" they should achieve and want to be successful. If they know the reason they have something that will drive them to success and keep them away from negative influences.
What do you want out of your life? How are you going to get there?
2. Meet them on their level: Youth see adults as out of touch, boring and uptight, they don't get to see us have fun or be ourselves. Completing a workout or participating in a team building activity with youth allows them to see adults as people instead of authority figures. When our guard comes down, it opens the door for youth to be honest with us about their fears, hopes and dreams.
Share a mistake, fear, goal or dream that you have experienced. Ask youth to share one as well.
3. Raise the Expectations: Many youth are satisfied with being average unless their is someone close to them challenging them to be great. Youth will achieve at the level that they are expected to, but they require someone in their corner who expects excellence from them. Youth will often meet and exceed expectations because they begin to expect excellence from themselves.
Did you do your best? How can you improve?
To effectively develop youth they must trust that you want the best for them but understand that they are in control of their lives and destiny. Give them ownership over their dreams and let them know that you are their to support them and help on that journey. Best of luck in building the leaders of tomorrow!