We all hear the stories about "kids these days."
We hear the stories at the grocery store, the library, on the television and in the newspapers. Bikes are stolen, kids are drinking or doing drugs, fights break out, and in general, our kids are bad news.
Well, what we don't hear are the stories about the majority of our kids - and that story is that they are intelligent, enthusiastic and energetic. What do these great kids have that the others don't? What sets them apart from the pack?
Simply put: Assets.
Assets are the strengths in our kids that help them to make positive, healthy choices and to build resilience. Assets influence kids and help them grow into caring, responsible adults.
There are 40 developmental assets that are broken into two categories: external and internal assets.
External assets are built through the communities, in such places as schools, community organizations and neighbors. Internal assets are values and sensitivity built at home, through our families.
Our job as community members is to show our kids we value them and they are a vital part of our neighborhoods. We are all responsible for building external assets in our young people. Some examples of external assets include a young person experiencing caring neighbors and providing them with valuable roles in the neighborhood, their school or their sports team.
Within our homes, we can motivate our children to do well in school and support others. By encouraging our youth to support others, we will foster in them responsibility and, therefore, take ownership in a thriving, healthy society. At home, encourage your children to read, engage in conversation, and be responsible.
When you see a neighborhood kid walking home from school, look them in the eye, call them by name and say hello. Sure, they may respond by being surprised, but soon those same kids will learn to trust you and know you are truly just saying hi and not trying to "catch" them doing something wrong.
Give it a try this week. By building assets, we teach our kids that they are a valuable, important part of our community.
To learn more about asset building or for other resources relating to raising healthy children, contact the Community Council on Youth. Our job is to provide everyone with tools to raise those intelligent, enthusiastic, energetic kids, including future trainings in asset building and ways to build the "Asset of the Month."
n For more information on asset building, call Kiser at 841-4730 or go to www.ccoy.org on the Internet.