I had the great pleasure of interviewing Positive Youth Development (PYD) expert Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD. She is a developmental psychologist, educator, researcher, and writer who studies how today’s youth grow into healthy, successful, and engaged adults.
She synthesizes multidisciplinary research in psychology, education, sociology, child & adolescent development, social psychology, and neurobiology to bring evidence-based research to parents, teachers, civic leaders, mentors, coaches, and all those who support positive youth development.
She was kind enough to provide her insight and wisdom on this ever growing and valuable field. Whether you are completely unfamiliar with PYD or a proponent and advocate for it’s expansion, there is a great deal of knowledge to be gained below.
1. What unique value do you feel positive youth development offers society?
It gives us the opportunity to view children and adolescents more holistically. Child psychology, much like medicine, focused on a disease model, looking at ways to treat deficiencies in development instead of how to achieve well-being.
Outside of the many expressions of love, its true power comes when we cultivate love within ourselves.
By cultivating love from within we can experience a growing sense of compassion and empathy for others as well as ourselves, and developing self-acceptance and a non-judgmental perspective as we follow our life path.
To experience true love we must love ourselves first and have a spiritual relationship as the foundation. This is a life long journey, but when we reach a point where we can love for the sake of loving, we will find compassion, overcome fear, and live with greater vigor.
Love can renew and heal
When things get tough and we feel overwhelmed, love can keep us going. It can calm rough waters and keep us focused on what is most important. Love allows us to forgive and move forward to a better tomorrow. The most fertile source to deal with conflict, malevolence and disrespect is loving-kindness.
Are you able to adapt and respond productively to challenging situations?
We will all run into obstacles and challenges as we work toward our goals and aspirations, so being prepared to deal with them and respond in the most productive way possible is crucial to staying persistent and strong.
Resiliency can help us deal with stress and persevere in the attainment of our goals. It can help us find benefits and opportunities amongst life’s difficult moments.
Here are a few questions to gauge your level of resilience.
Do you keep a positive attitude during difficult situations?
A resilient person is able to maintain a positive attitude and emotionally deal with difficult situations when they arise. They are aware that challenges will arise and are able to make the best of them.
With every great building and work of architecture there is a strong foundation and framework that holds it up. We too must first have a solid foundation that will support our dreams and aspirations before we will ever truly be sturdy.
Our self-image is the bedrock of our goals and future success.
Developing a healthier self-image can improve relationships, lead us to set our sights on greater things, and help us feel confident with who we are.
By improving your self-image you will find yourself more durable and well-built when times get tough.
Here are a few suggestions for improving your self-image.
Read biographies of successful and confident people. Learning about successful people whom you admire and respect can offer wonderful insight into what it takes to be successful.
Every day we run into hassles and stressors that can start to build up and bring us down. Maybe you don’t have enough time, you have too many responsibilities, or you’re worried about some upcoming obligation.
Whatever hassles you’re experiencing it’s important to learn to deal with them, though at the same time, it’s also important to fill our day with positive and uplifting experiences.
Uplifting experiences help us build positive emotions and become more resilient when times get rough. Having the good with the bad is crucial in order to cope with the stress of everyday life.
These don’t have to be anything extreme or out of the ordinary. Positive uplifting experiences are all around us.
Here are some simple everyday experiences that can help give you an emotional boost.
Relating well with family and friends – Whether its friends or family, having healthy and positive relationships is very valuable to our emotional health. When we have shared connections with friends and family each day we will find more amusement, joy and affection in our life.
How long does it take to change a habit or behavior? I have heard different estimates, from 21 days to 30 days in particular. Obviously, the longer we engage in a new behavior the more likely we are to change an ingrained habit or to add a new one.
If we want to make changes in our life we are better off setting a healthy and positive goal, and work to add a new habit, than we are to simply stop unhealthy behaviors.
There may be a habit or two that you are looking to change. If so, take this 30 day challenge to start a new behavior.
However, failure offers us a perfect chance to learn and improve. Without failure we wouldn’t know what areas we need to improve in.
Think of failure as a form of coaching or feedback that gives you an opportunity to learn what can be done better.
People rarely get a straight shot toward their life goals. Unexpected things happen and we make mistakes along the way.
Getting from where we are now to where we want to be will require a few detours, and these detours offer us a chance for growth and lead to character development. Failure reveals that we are trying new things and pushing our limits beyond what feels easy and comfortable.
In essence, failure helps us reach our potential.
Failure leads to wisdom
We learn a lot about life and who we are when we’re willing to take a chance and experience what the world has to offer. The more we experienc,e the more we learn about how to effectively handle life’s ups and downs.
What’s your morning routine? Most people have a routine they follow every morning, and whether it’s eating breakfast, drinking coffee, taking a shower, brushing their teeth, etc., they usually follow it pretty mechanically.
So, why not bring more positivity into your morning routine?
Starting the day off with positive thinking, a healthy frame of reference, or a little inspiration can make a big difference in keeping you focused on what makes you feel good, being more productive, and having an overall more positive day.
I asked friends and family over this holiday weekend how they put positivity into their day and start things off on the right foot. These are some of the ideas and suggestions they had.
Give yourself ample time
Have you ever been in a hurry to get out the door, when all of a sudden you spill something on your clothes or realize you forget an important task and document?