You Should Know
Leading a life of purpose is a beneficial, but rare experience for youth today. Only about one in five high-schoolers reports having a sense of purpose. The others either feel disengaged or incredibly pressured at school. Our job as parents and educators should be to help these kids identify and start working toward purpose. Having kids talk about what matters to them (in the big picture) is a great place to start. Then we can try to help them connect to opportunities to act on their goals. Modeling our own purpose and fostering gratitude helps too. Youth who pursue a sense of purpose report being happier, more satisfied, and having better physical health.
Here’s another reason to love Casual Friday. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that on days that participants wore jeans to work, they took, on average, 491 more steps than on days they wore normal business attire. That adds up to an extra 25 calories burned just for wearing jeans. That’s not exactly a huge weight loss strategy, but you could bring it up at the next staff meeting. Casual day every day, or at least every Friday!
If your teenager has a hard time making decisions, encourage them that sometimes good enough is good enough. Studies show that happy decision makers (known as satisfiers) are the ones who are satisfied when they come across something that fits their criteria. No need to keep looking or second guess the decision. Individuals who strive too hard to make the most informed, intelligent decision (maximizers) are often less effective in making decisions and less happy when they finally do it.
Want more resilient children? Send them to camp. Experts explain that a camp experience, be it residential or a day camp, creates the “perfect blend of conditions that give children what they need to be more resilient.” Camp gives children manageable amounts of stress and then the support they need to learn how to cope (think a high ropes course or a hike in the woods). By pushing kids out of their comfort zones and encouraging them to try new things, camp not only helps kids find new hobbies and passions (which bolsters their well-being), it also improves their ability to cope with life stressors away from camp.