Believe in the Good

If we were to think that the kids were bad or broken, they would know. Read more...

By Momentous Institute | Mar 06, 2017
Believe In Good

One of the most important things we can do when working with kids is to genuinely believe in their inherent goodness. We have to truly and honestly believe that the kids are inherently good, even when they’re struggling. If we were to think that the kids were bad or broken, they would know. And we’d never find the good in them. On the other hand, when we believe that the kids are good and have the ability to improve, they pick up on that as well. We need to approach every single interaction with the reassurance that we believe in them, that they’re good people no matter what behavior they show us on the outside, and that we will treat them with respect and compassion. No matter what.

Kids are often exhausted by the reactions they receive from other adults in their lives. Think about it – when a child acts up, they’re often punished or reprimanded in some way. So as behavior escalates, so do the responses to the behavior. It is sadly uncommon for poor behavior to be met with empathy and understanding. So when they come to us, they expect the same. And instead, we can be the adult who tells them that they’re important and valuable. That they’re part of our team. That they’re good – and capable of good. This is incredibly powerful!

One way that we can demonstrate this belief is by showing the kids that we are impressed with their behaviors. We demonstrate a sense of awe for their unique talents and abilities. For example, if a student comes up with a great solution to a problem, we might say, “Wow! That was incredible. How did you do that?”

We can also thank them often. We can say things like, “Thank you for sharing that.” or “Thank you for being honest about how you feel about this. You’re a valuable member of our group.” We can be very overt about acknowledging the value that each member brings to the group, and that we’re glad to have them. Even when – especially when – they’re at their worst, we can call attention to them in a positive way. We can say, “I know you’re struggling with this. I’m really glad you’re here. What can I do to help?”

When we believe that kids are good, they’ll show us that they are.