What does it take for a student to succeed? Is it enough to be smart? To have educated, involved parents? Does it require involvement in enrichment or athletic opportunities? Is it defined by the number of friends you have; for real and virtually?
From a high level, research-based perspective, the Search Institute developed a framework of 40 Developmental Assets; twenty each internal and external, that identify a set of skills, experiences, relationships and behaviors that have been determined to help young people have success as they develop into contributing adults. The more you have, the better off you’ll be is how the theory works.
From a local perspective, one school district has adopted the “habits of a scholar” and defined them using the acronym ExPECT. This helps everyone remember the habits as Executive Skills, Perseverance, Enthusiasm, Compassion and Teamwork.
At an individual school level there is a mission to build EPIC learners. These are learners who are Empowered, Prepared, Invested and Connected.
From a youth perspective, however, we see in this video that a person needs resilience. They need to feel love and be loved. And they need to have trust.
Some youth in our valley have survived life situations that would be too much for many adults to handle. They don’t have the support of home, family or school. Yet, they have a positive outlook full of hope. They can still feel love in a world that has been cruel and hurtful.
Maybe that’s the key. For youth to succeed and become contributing adults, they need to have an internal resiliency, a sense of hope and the ability to feel love even when their experiences would jade them from trusting they could have such feelings of joy and wonder.
Can you teach love, hope, resiliency, or are they internal to our DNA?
Do the youth need to have a vision of who they are and what they want to become?
Does success hinder on their ability to conceptualize at this level?
In honor of this Martin Luther King Day, let us dream of a future full of resilient youth who hope to, one day succeed at achieving their dream. May we show them love. May we open our hearts, our minds and perhaps even our homes in order to foster a sense of belonging. For then, we may be able to ExPECT EPIC achievements.