• Bryon Ownby

Finding Hope Again

In the past couple of weeks, those in our community have experienced loosing friends and loved ones to suicide and drug overdose. Some were in their youth where one would think they had a bright future. Some were parents of youth who struggled to see a positive future. I'm attending an event this weekend to over hear a grandmother crying out over her 5th grade grandson who experienced the harmful effects of bullying. As adults and children, we all have a desire to be loved and accepted by those around us. Somehow, some of those around us loose the hope and we do not know about it until it is too late.

The pain of life becomes to unbearable and blackness covers the escape or the route to freedom. At any age, many turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, and/or achievements so early in life that we sometimes say how did they find that outlet? It doesn't matter the outlet or devices used, there is something one longs for that generates a deep imbedded pain that becomes unbearable and difficult to shake off.

We sometimes don't understand the choices that others make because of the hidden mask(s) that is worn because of the fears of more pain, fear of acceptance, fear of ever being loved again. The list of fears continues to grow, until one day, the pain generates a decision. Sometimes, it is a positive decision to freedom, sometimes it is a negative or less fortunate one.

Pain is pain, no matter what one may face or has had to manage. With our youth, and the peer pressure placed on them by their peers, family, friends, many wonder how will they be loved? How will they be accepted? It is said that children who are peer-accepted or popular have fewer problems in middle school and high school that lead to fewer emotional and social adjustment problems as adults. Here are some thoughts taken from an article recently shared to assess how youth are managing being accepted by those around them:

  1. Review child's body language and tone of voice as they are able to distinguish anger directed toward them and anger directed toward a parent.

  2. Ability to respond to the statements and guessers of other children by the use of children's names, establish eye contact, and use touch to get attention.

  3. Ability to give reason for their own statements, gestures, and actions with the ability to explain why they want to do something the other child does not want to do.

  4. Cooperate with, show tact towards, and compromise with other children. They are able to demonstrate the willingness to subordinate the self by modifying behavior and opinions in the interests of others.

These skills are just a few that are crucial to helping our youth succeed. In contrast, this helps us identify those who may be struggling by seeing unexplained aggression, antisocial

behavior or withdrawn, and depressive behavior. Let's keep our eyes open to those we love and hold dear to our hearts. It is about reaching one person at a time, one small step at a time.

If you would like to read more about how to view the mental and emotional health of children, check out this link: http://www.healthofchildren.com/P/Peer-Acceptance.html

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