A little over a week ago, thirteen-year-old Johnathan Kaufusi of Baytown became a hero when he pulled nearly-drowned Chriszetta Owens from the water at Banana Bend. She had gone out to rescue a younger cousin, and although successful, found herself in big trouble. Lucky for her, Johnathan was prepared to make good on the Boy Scout promise, “To help other people at all times.” I, along with many, applaud this young man who sprang into action during moments when it mattered most.
I often lament the fact that we as a society spend too much time ruminating over, and shining the spotlight on a few bad apples instead of praising to high heavens the youth of today who aren’t involved in creating chaos and tragic events. I’ve learned to look for the silver lining, and while there are days I have to get past societal myopia, I always find it.
As a parent, I’m guilty of noticing less-than-desirable behavior, while not frequently enough taking note and verbalizing my appreciation for the fact that my children make me immensely proud a majority of the time. “I can’t do anything right”, uttered to me by one of my own cuts me to the core, and causes me to remember once again that it takes many “atta-boys” to make up for one “what in the world were you thinking?”
I’ve never been one to subscribe to the “it takes a village” theory, but I believe we all need to be on the constant lookout in our daily travels for young people making good decisions, and as a fellow columnist friend of mine would say, “be all over it like a hobo on a hotdog”. The investment of a few seconds of our time could have huge returns, and I’ve found giving praise runs a close second to receiving it. Give it a try this week, I dare you.
Human beings rise up, respond, and far exceed expectations when positively acknowledged. Don’t believe me? Visit a classroom full of children, and watch most of them snap-to when the teacher compliments noticeably good behavior on display. It’s a contagion we should intentionally spread.
Paying attention to a degree that will allow us to see the good in our youth requires each and every one of us to unplug from the TV, computer, cell phone and video gaming system, and plug into their lives. Trade the electronics for a Q-Beam, and be prepared to shed some light on why our future is as bright as we choose to make it.
Johnny Mercer got it right when he sang, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative, don’t mess with Mister In-Between, you’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum, bring gloom down to the minimum, have faith or pandemonium’s, liable to walk upon the scene”
© 2008 Natalie Whatley