This is a guest post from Josh Shipp, KVC Nebraska’s Resource Family Conference 2018 Keynote Speaker and was originally published on his website joshshipp.com. Josh was in foster care himself and has now become a youth advocate and award-winning youth speaker and teen expert. He now shares his own experience of hardship in order to help adults understand kids and kids understand themselves. Shipp is renowned for his documentary TV series on A&E that followed his groundbreaking work with teens. He is the author of the national bestseller “The Teen’s Guide to World Domination” and has spoken at Harvard, Stanford, MIT, UCLA and on FOX, 20/20, Good Morning America and more.
Statistically, I am supposed to be dead, in jail, or homeless.
At 14, I’d been kicked out of so many foster homes that it became a game to me. I acted out because I didn’t trust anyone, and I didn’t expect that to change any time soon. So, how come I didn’t end up yet another statistic?
The Answer: One Caring Adult.
“Every Kid Is ONE Caring Adult Away from Being a Success Story.”
How You Can Make a Difference (Even If You’re Busy)
1. Identify One Kid. Then Consistently & Intentionally Invest Time With That One Kid.
In March 2015, Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child released a study saying, “Every child who winds up doing well has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult.”
Maybe this child is 8 and on your baseball team. Maybe she’s your 13-year-old daughter. Maybe he’s 15 and lives in your neighborhood. Whoever it may be, you have the power to make a positive and significant difference in their lives.
Do for ONE kid – what you wish you could do for ALL kids.
It’s this simple…
Step 1: Find out what they’re into.
Step 2: Spend time doing what matters to them b/c they matter to you.
Step 3: Your investment of time will lead to influential conversations.
If you’re interested in learning more about mentoring or finding a kid who needs a mentor, here are some resources:
2. Don’t Get Discouraged.
Sometimes when you’re investing the time you’ll think, “It’s not working.”
Consider this. Kids spell TRUST like T-I-M-E. And when you consistently invest time in a kid–even if they’re acting out and you don’t think they deserve it–the care and attention will pay off.
When I was a kid, I felt like I had no one to talk to about these crazy, scary things going on in my life. So I acted out. And I took it out on the very people who were trying to help me. But after a while, I realized–for the first time–my current foster parents weren’t turning me away, and they genuinely cared about my future.
Even then, I didn’t thank my foster parents until I was in my twenties. Know that you ARE making a difference. It’s just that, sometimes, us kids are too immature or scared to tell you so.
3. Let Them Know You See Their Potential.
“You’re not a problem. You’re an opportunity.”
That’s what my foster dad, Rodney, told me. And it put me on the path I’m still on today.
Your kid may keep causing problems and trying to make things difficult.
Remember this: When kids don’t talk out, they will act out.
Be there for the kid in your life, and let them know that you see under the surface of their troubles. You see what they can be—and what they can be is amazing.
Be that one caring adult – that person who changes a kid’s life with a simple, caring act.
It starts with you, and it starts now.
Read more articles from Josh Shipp at joshshipp.com and be sure to register for KVC Nebraska’s Resource Family Conference taking place December 1, 2018, where Josh Shipp will be the keynote speaker. Historically, this unique conference was only available to KVC licensed resource families but now is available to everyone who believes people matter – whether it’s your profession, your passion, or an interest. This is an opportunity to learn from experts, both local and nationwide, enhance your own parenting skills, as well as network with others in the area who desire to make a difference. Registration opens October 1, 2018, at www.kvcnebraska.org/rfc
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