Are you guilty of asking the teens in your life “What do you want to be when you grow up”? Of course you are. Think about how many times you heard the standard response of “I don’t know”? I’m guilty as well. But I’ve wised up. I have now resigned myself to asking “who are you” — a much more thought provoking and important question. Self-discovery is very important in adolescent development and this question encourages youth to dig deep for a meaningful answer.
Self-discovery helps teens understand their worth and maximize their potential. Youth who understand their value and are given the freedom to be themselves thrive. These youth are clear about the things that matter to them. They understand their strengths and are aware that they can have a positive impact on their world.
Young people not only need someone to believe in them but they also need a support system that allows them to experience the joys and challenges of life and make decisions and mistakes in a safe environment. The self-discovery process helps teens to express their concerns and opinions, adapt to challenges, and create realistic goals and plans for their future. Our job as adults is to guide and not lead. In a world filled with pressure to give in to stereotypes and trends, we need to encourage young people to embrace their individuality. Adults must help young people discover their talents and gifts and then begin to nurture the talents and gifts they possess.
I hope that after reading this post you will have a flood of new ideas to help usher your young people through the self-discovery process. If you are connected to youth who are leaders and go-getters we want you to introduce them to our readers. The Teen Toolbox SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month honor is the perfect way to celebrate dynamic youth and provide new role models for other young people who may be struggling to find their place in the world. Youth are seeking role models who have overcome similar experiences. “Teens need opportunities to succeed and recognition for a job well done.”
SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month nominations are accepted on a continuous basis. Nominate a teen today
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.