• Catherine Hansen MD, MPH

How we educate our youth matters, a lot.

Updated: Jan 28, 2020

I had a beautiful weekend with my son and the interviews with his teachers revealed, for me, the possibilities that lay ahead when we set an intentional course to educate and lovingly guide the next generation.

The school that he is blessed to attend in Lakefield, Ontario, Canada is guided by Positive Psychology principles and a "Strengths-based" approach to teaching and life on campus. For those who have not been impacted by this game-changing movement, Positive Psychology was created by Martin Seligman in 1998 and is the scientific study of how positive emotions, strengths and virtues help us thrive in all aspects of life. It’s a far cry from the punitive environment that many of us grew up in (and may have unwittingly used to raise our children). But, don’t worry, shame is almost completely wiped out once you understand these principles and integrate them into your interactions with yourself and the people in your life.

Over the last several years, I have become familiar with and utilize Positive Psychology practices with my clients and, to some extent, with my medical patients as time allows. I’ve seen, first hand, the transformations that women can make when they see, hear, feel and embody their greatest strengths.

This is NOT just positive-thinking or adding icing to everything to make it sweet. This is doing deep personal work to understand and gain insight into WHO we are at our core, what makes us tick and leveraging those strengths for the greatest possible good.

It’s knowing that our core values ARE our strengths and living aligned with them has a way of amplifying our greatness like nothing else.

We release shame, blame and unconscious mind blocks that are holding us back in return for ease, flow and authentic confidence that is not accessible any other way. It’s not easy but it is life-altering and brings crystal clarity to EVERYTHING.

What I observed at the school were adults who deeply respected my boy for the “work in progress” that he is. They partnered with him to acknowledge the areas he could improve without an ounce of shame and, in leaving each interview, it was obvious that he felt ‘seen and heard’ and lifted up for all the things he does well. He was one of the only students who attended the parent-teacher interviews but they welcomed him with open arms and actively engaged him in the process. There was an openness and transparency that I have never experienced in these arenas and, ultimately, there were more questions than answers leaving us feeling open, curious, optimistic and excited for what lie ahead.

As I ran around Devon’s school in “speed-dating-style” with his teachers, I saw Positive Psychology in action and it renewed my faith that there is a better way to parent, to teach, to educate, to equip and to lead and it’s exactly what our world needs for youth during these chaotic times.

Sharing ways to integrate YOUR personal values into the Holiday Season is Milisa Burns CLICK HERE (more at: MilisaBurns.com)

To learn

YOUR Values go here for a free assessment: https://viacharacter.org/account/register

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