With so many returning to school I felt it was important to provide a checklist of things that are important for every student. No, I am not talking about a backpack, pens, extra chargers for the cell phone, etc. My checklist is a bit different, take a look.
- Attitude: You have a decision to make right now, what type of school year are YOU going to have? This decision is up to you period. I would hope that you have an attitude of hope, excitement, kindness, inclusion and accomplishment among others. Your attitude is reflected in the decisions you make each day. If you want to have a great school year, then you need to be sure and start with a positive attitude.
- Goals: What is it you want to accomplish this school year that have NOTHING to do with your grades? Here are some potential areas that you might want to think about: Making new friends, being a better friend, show respect, balance your time, show more gratitude towards classmates, teammates, teachers, coaches, parents, siblings, be actively engaged, express your thoughts, develop new skills. Hopefully you can find one or two specific areas that you can set a goal and then prepare to make it happen.
- Values: This may seem a bit different but I feel more now than ever we must be talking about our values more and more. Thus, you need to be sure and know what your personal values and be committed to living those each day. If you value integrity then be sure you do not cheat, even if you think its something small. If you value time, then don’t waste it when you are in class. If you value inclusion, then be sure others see this and don’t be a gossiper. If you value gratitude, then be sure you are showing this with hand written notes, saying thank you often and showing respect. Values define us whether we realize it or not. There is such great strength that comes from our values which is why I feel so strongly that students need to focus on this.
- Support Network: Who is in your support network? Who are the people you trust to talk to about things? This may be one of the most important checklist items ever. With so much pressure on students today to achieve success in everything there is no doubt mental health will become an even more critical topic. The better prepared you are now the more opportunity you will have to make it through the challenges and trials you will face as well as be more confident to be there for others. Be honest with yourself in everything you do. Be honest with those you trust so they can help. Never feel like you can’t talk to someone, there is ALWAYS someone willing and wanting to help. You are needed in this world. You have so much potential and having a solid support network will lighten your emotional load some to bring more peace as you fight each day.
As I mentioned, this may not be your typical checklist for Back To School but my goal is to at least get you thinking about these important things. We are living in a world where mental health is become more and more important to not just understand but learn how to improve. Every life matters, every decision matters. What we do truly matters.
You will have an awesome school year, now make it happen hero.
PARENTS: I would invite you to sit down with your children and discuss this checklist. Have an open conversation with them. Start the year with the type of relationship that can help ensure you are a part of their support network. It will be worth it.