Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"Feel To Change"...A Call To Action All Of Us Need To Hear

My friend Ian Coon, who is a senior at Waukee High School in Waukee, Iowa, shared this with me earlier this week.  It is from an English teacher at Waukee, Sheena Grove and she has a call to action that all of us need to hear.  

Please take the time to listen to Mrs. Grove's Call to Action and read what Ian and Sheena shared below.

Growing up, we are told to find a role model. As young adults, we are asked to become role models. As parents, we are told that in order to raise good people, we must model good behaviors for our children. As teachers, it's considered "best practice" to model secure skills and mutual respect for
students. So why is it that adults continue to be frustrated that teens today have no resilience?
The concept of modeling surrounds us in everything we do. So unless we start to model the behaviors of honesty and vulnerability required to develop strength and resilience, young people will continue to struggle when they meet adversity.

When will we, as teachers, be willing to model resilience by opening up our classroom conversations to ones about struggle, strife, and emotional darkness? We have to do something more than we're doing now. It’s not enough to keep talking about how much this epidemic must change.

Similarly, I refuse to receive the same cryptic message that a young person has “passed away unexpectedly,” forcing me to read between the lines and experience yet another stomach punch that is debilitating.
To do so is irresponsible; research supports the notion that, as humans, we must FEEL in order to change. Merely having information isn’t enough. But how many times must we FEEL the loss of another loved one before we feel an urge strong enough to do something about it?

If we don't start talking openly about our own struggles and the steps we took to rise up from them, and if we don’t begin to accept that the people in our lives are likely “great pretenders” too, we will only continue to lose the people we love.

No one is immune to mental illness and it cannot become commonplace for a loved one or community member to take his or her own life. I will not sit idly and be silent any longer.

A few days ago, I acted on this notion by making a video. I attempted to make YOU feel something very real and very scary for me. But, as another teacher recently reminded me, the fear I have of people knowing my story is a small price to pay if even one person’s life is impacted positively.

Now it’s your turn: YOU must do something and cause others to feel. YOU must open up dialogue between yourself and the young people in your life. YOU must model ways to stand back up after life has knocked you down.

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