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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Love, Family and Determination

In Lifeplan, one of the first exercises we do and are currently doing with the 8th Grade at MTS, is identifying our top three values. I then invite these young people to keep a journal on using these top values in making decisions.

One example a student used from their journal was when they were invited to go hang with some friends. At the same time their family was planning an outing and hoped they would join in. Well, they thought about it, recognized that “family” was one of their top values and that they had to report back on decisions they made using the top values as criteria in choosing a course of action. They chose to go with the family AND said they had a great time.

I always like to share how many young people have shared that this process ruins things. I respond that they now have to think about their decisions and not just wing it. Once they have stopped to think about these things, there is no going back. The idea is to have them be thoughtful, forever.

Another feature of this values exercise is when the class negotiates the class’s top four values. These remarkable young people stand up and advocate for a value they think should be embraced by the class for the entire year, together. The content and passion these young people bring to their advocacy, is heartwarming. I am going to tape this process next year, because I think it could be instructive to all of us how thoughtful and passionate these kids are about what they hold most dear.

This class has chosen Love, Family, Determination and Courage as their top four values. Friendship, Diversity and Optimism enjoyed some animated support but in the end the top four were chosen.

Now, the class will divide up into four teams. Each team will craft a script and produce a 60-second PSA portraying their value. These are modeled after the popular PSA’s produced by the Foundation for a Better Life. These young people will share these PSAs at their Lifeplan Event in May.

With their top values chosen, used and documented in their journals, these young people move on to identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and then the work of building a positive self-talk.

As they are discovering, building a Lifeplan is a journey of choices, decisions and consequences. They also are becoming aware that the more thoughtful they are the more likely the outcomes will be positive.

All the best,


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