Scott Fried is a professional motivational speaker who had a positive impact this week on all of our students from grades 6-12. He also met in the evening with a large group of engaged parents. His primary focus was coping with the challenge of life for pre-teens and adolescents and the importance of mutual acceptance.
Scott stressed that words do hurt and can have a lasting and negative impact. While urging students to be respectful and accepting of peers, he reminded his audiences that all children feel pain on the long and often lonely road to adulthood. As children grow and change, we adults need to acknowledge the pain that teens sometimes feel because inevitably life does hurt; indeed, life itself can be a bully. Scott urged us to openly acknowledge the feelings of our students and children and not neglect hurt feelings or try to wash them away.
What seemed to resonate most with our students was the phrase “I am enough.” Scott wants us to meet, accept and cherish young people in the moment for who they are. We should not bury them in a sea of seemingly endless expectations. This only reinforces the implicit message that they are never good enough. Teens also have secrets during this critical period of “becoming” on their journey to adulthood. Mistakes will be made along the way, which is normal. As teachers and parents, our role as key adults in their lives is to help children develop a healthy posture of self-acceptance before they can move on confidently toward a path of self-improvement.
I had an opportunity to speak with Scott at the end of a very long day. He strongly complimented our school and the initiatives we are taking. I noted that our success is rooted in a faculty of dedicated educators who generally see our students as “more than enough.” We have many trusted adults here. They proactively bear witness to the hurdles and challenges of so many young people. When we team and partner with our parents in a positive way; that’s what truly makes a difference! – Chris Shannon, Headmaster