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Thriving in trying times - an inspiring generation is emerging

Want to be inspired in the midst of a pandemic and national unrest? Survey your students! We have all been so wrapped up in the business of getting “back to school” in some manner that we may be missing something beautiful – the rise of a resilient generation.

In an effort to check in and bolster the mental emotional health of my students, I administered a short survey. The results I found were astoundingly inspiring, springing forth hope in me that I did not even realize I desperately needed.

The survey includes 5 questions and a “feelings” checklist.

  1. What did you do to overcome feelings of concern or personal struggle during the last 6 months?

  2. How did you spend your spare time?

  3. Did you learn something new? If so what?

  4. Did you learn something about yourself or life?

  5. What is one valuable thing that has come as a result of these trying times?

While there were some gut wrenching responses, I found most to be remarkably hopeful! While they expressed feeling postponed, disappointed and anxious – not one student check the box indicating they felt like a “victim”. I was pleasantly surprised at how few “zoned out” during this time and how many took the time to rest, learn something new, connect with family and reflect on what so many said “really matters.”

Here are a couple of marvelous student quotes.

  • “I learned that if I ever get stuck in life, it doesn’t mean I can’t keep going.”

  • “I learned that having time to get to know yourself isn’t a bad thing.”

Your results may or may not be as overall positive but one thing is for sure, it’s imperative for us to “check in” and find out where they’re at emotionally to help them rise. They need our guidance to help them re-frame their experience as powerful tools for the future. In a recent post, generational expert Tim Elmore, reminds us of the work of John Tierney and that “stress doesn’t have to cause a disorder. It can actually be leveraged for good.”

NO experience is wasted! Here are some ideas on leading the way!

  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect on their experience and share their feelings – use my survey or create your own.

  • Demonstrate how they can re-frame their experience and find the positives – use my guidance lesson or lead a discussion on coping skills, pros and cons and share your own struggles as well as those of past generations.

  • Finally, tell them how much you believe in them and God’s promises placed on them when they were knit together in their mother’s womb. (Psalms 139:13, Jeremiah 29:11)

Difficult and trying times can define a trajectory for a generation. While many may feel discouraged, students can choose to rise and you can lead them!

Their future – our tools – your influence! Join me…

©2020 all rights reserved

Author: Kathy Pierce Howard, creator of Prep4Success Academy curriculum for educators and parents to enhance student motivation and success. For more TOOLS and to sign up to receive this blog go to

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