Substance abuse, bullying, eating disorders, self-injury, depression, unhealthy relationships, and unhealthy digital behavior are all very heavy topics. They’re even heavier when discussed in relation to children. However, because awareness and understanding of these topics are so important, that’s what we do every day at notMYkid: discuss them.
We present to students, parents, and school faculty every day. We speak with behavioral health professionals and law enforcement, to acquire their vast knowledge and input on these topics. We listen to young adults who come through our door, wanting to speak for us, as they share their powerful personal stories related to our topics.
We research. We study. We dig through medical journals and case studies. We keep up on breaking news related to our topics.
Seeing the staggering statistics, hearing the heart-wrenching stories, and putting a human face to it all can be incredibly intense. At times it can feel overwhelming. The reality and gravity of it can seem like too much to bear. The impact of these issues on society can lead some people to question if a solution even exists.
The good news is, that’s only the first half of the story.
In every single one of these topics, among the wreckage, heartbreak, and pain, there remains an element crucial to the whole point: Hope. Hope is why we do what we do. We have hope that educating students, parents, faculty, and our society as a whole will allow us to prevent these negative behaviors, change the culture surrounding them, lower the negative statistics, and alter the outcome.
Never, at any point, do we deliver a presentation where we present the negative reality of a topic, and then walk away, feeling that our job is done. Being solely focused on the problem doesn’t combat the problem, being focused on the solution does.
So where does that solution come from? Where is that hope?
The hope is in action. That’s where the power comes from. Hope without action is like a car without an engine. It may look nice, but when it’s time to actually go somewhere, you won’t move an inch. But pair hope with action, and amazing things can happen. Progress will be made.
The action plan to turn hope into results can be simplified into a list of three C’s: Confidence, Communication, and Commitment.
Confidence, better known as faith or assurance, is the optimism that allows us to move forward, believing that a positive outcome can be achieved, even in the face of such overwhelming odds. It allows us to believe in a purpose greater than ourselves. We can’t start the journey of hope without confidence that, in the end, we can make things better.
Communication is an essential tool in any action plan. It allows us to educate, inform, and inspire each other, share our faith and motivation, and gain the input and perspective of others. If we as a society truly want to improve, then we as a society need to begin a passionate yet respectful dialogue on how that’s going to happen. We need to engage one another in purposeful, intentional communication.
Commitment has multiple facets. It’s a willingness to serve others, both society as a whole, and individuals. It’s also a dedication to see the plan through and to remain hopeful, even when the end goal seems like it’s a long way off. It’s the resolve that allows us to overcome obstacles, push through resistance, and keep moving forward when the battle becomes difficult.
The combination of confidence, communication, and commitment is not complicated, but it is effective. It’s a plan of action that takes the concept of hope and turns it into tangible results. It allows us to take a story with an intense, heavy, dark first half, and give it a positive ending. It is what allows us to find hope in the most seemingly hopeless topics.
Turning hope into action begins with a choice. It’s a choice we need to make individually and collectively if we are to truly make things better as a society.
What is your choice?