13 November 2009

Meet the challenge to change for the better

As seen in the Battleford's Regional Optimist

Imagine a room full of screaming adults with 80’s and early 90’s music blasting, and even the occasional new hit. They are dancing and cheering.

Now imagine being a 14 year-old walking into that room. The words “crazy” and “silly” may cross your mind. You may even feel embarrassed because this is an awkward situation.

Welcome to Challenge Day at John Paul II High School. Three days full of chaotic adults acting as teenagers while teens are staring in amazement.

I was privileged to attend all three days. Let me tell you that I had no voice by the end of it.

What does all this singing and dancing do? Well, oddly, it creates a safe environment. Think about it. By my dancing as crazy as I want and can, it shows that I am comfortable, real, and not trying to play a stiff role. Also, by my encouraging other youths to do the same, it creates an environment where you can be yourself.

By creating such a safe environment, not only do youth act themselves, they also say things they’ve never said before.

Is your house a safe environment? Can your spouse talk to you about anything? I mean really talk to you about anything? Or do they have set roles that must be maintained.

How about your children? Can they talk to you about anything? Or are there certain topics that are taboo, and everyone has to wear a forced smile?

Well, is there room for improvement? Of course, there always is. In every family there is room for improvement.

First, you need to notice what needs to be changed in your family. Acknowledge it. Write it down, and let others in your family know what is going to change. This is so you can be held accountable.

Second is the choice. That is, you have identified what can be done better, so what are you going to make it better. Think of an action that you can do to substitute the current behaviour, routine, or function.

Lastly, after acknowledging what needs to be changed, choosing something to do about it, you must act! Again, tell your family. A goal is usually not met if it is just one made up in your head. The more you tell, and who are willing to hold you responsible, the more likely you will be to follow through with this act of change.

By doing this, noticing, choosing, and acting, you can be an advocate for change.

The City of North Battleford has such a group that creating change in the community. We meet at JPII. Come check it out and be part of the change in the Battlefords.