Teen Violence Prevention
(article submitted to SOS Safety Magazine)
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Literally every teen individual is at risk for violence, yet few see teen violence as a subject worth radical effort. Oh perhaps they do feel it’s worth effort for prevention; however, do not know how to make a difference, or simply “do not have the time.” If each parent, each school, each community group, each sports team, each instrumental class (every facet of a teen’s life) carried out a plan of action, change would be inevitable.
Every teen, no matter how disgruntled of an employee or troublesome of a student they may seem, holds a dream. We all aspire to be something great, we all dream, and we are all drawn to do bad or mean things. Humans are essentially selfish, and the teenage time of discovery will spark new beginnings of self-discovery through trial and error. It is the time of independence for a child who has mostly listened to his or her parents and begins emerging into our world by making his or her own decisions through all that they have learned. Therefore, teens will want to try to be nice, and see how hard it is to get a good, positive response from this in order to get more self esteem. They will decide if their effort will be ‘worth it’ as they have been told all their life. Or, will being rude, violent, cruel and downright mean get them what they want easier?
Facts On Bullying
The target group for someone to become a bully or develop a violent character is a person from a lower- income family who has a poor self-esteem or poor self-image with an unstable family setting or setting where the child is in a position where he or she is subjected to violence. A person would want to become violent or have the urge to be violent if they were unhappy. If a child had a good, supportive family, excellent self-esteem, and a fabulous loyal friend group, he or she would not be as liable to show violent qualities or behavior. This would be ideal, however, in today’s North American society this is not usually the case.
Plan for Change.
I plan for personal change and growth within oneself. I believe this can be achieved by elevation of self-esteem through self-expression and the vehicle of music, arts and other extra-curricular activities.
If a child excels in something or even simply enjoys something very much, it will yield a sense of pride, belonging and will help boost self –esteem. A teen or child with a positive life like this will not have the urge to become violent. I wish every child had the opportunity to find something that they love and want to work hard for. We need to find a way to give each kid a chance to empower him or herself.
Whether it is sports, singing, dance, painting, music, skating or any other crazy game a child could think up, we need to get involved. And I’m not just talking about us teens, parents need to work with schools and local groups to give the children of today an outlet. The outlet I am involved with is Harmony. Harmony offers a wide variety of programs including singing, stomp, instrumental, yoga, cooking and more. Harmony is a not-for-profit organization that charges no financial fees for lessons; instead, for every hour of lessons I receive, I have to give back to the community. This is a positive cycle where the child receives and then gives back. But Harmony is special in another way, because as much as teachers are there to teach and the children are there to learn, Harmony is also a community of friendship where the number one rule is no bulling, only support from friends, parents and teachers. You don’t have to have money to attend, and you certainly don’t have to be poor. I have never been in a place that feels safer, or more encouraging.
Each student that enrolls in Harmony leaves with positive change and growth within. Once a child finds a home in a group or team of something they enjoy, they feel better about themselves and feels at peace. They will not seek violence or harm for others. If more places could be created like Harmony, our youth would be better off.
How To Achieve Your Goals – Dream Big
When I am older, I would like to be a large part of an organization similar to Harmony. I want to give all kids an opportunity to feel safe and proud. Many children dream of a safe place where they are not subjected to violence or harm, and all children deserve it. The idea of channeling potential ‘bad’ or harmful energy that would be used for violence into energy that can be used for personal development and growth helps everyone. It is this type of radical dreaming and believing that could prevent violence and help children reach their full potential.
At present, I am beginning to put these thoughts into action. I teach young children a general arts program at Harmony where the child gets a taste of a variety of programs to see what they may be interested in. I reinforce in their minds that we are all friends, bulling is intolerable and Harmony is a safe place. I am also helping to plan a festival which I think will help bring families together. Our mission for the festival is to create a fun filled and affordable day for the entire family. Unlike pricey carnivals and amusement parks, admittance is free, games are free and families are encouraged to come out as a family. Enjoyment for the children and families at no financial cost encourages the public to give back and makes people thankful for what they have.
Love For Life
So what if we do nothing? What if we just sit on our butts and let the world be as it is? Well, nothing may happen I suppose; the world will certainly keep spinning, people will still keep hurting each other, kids will continue feeling horrible about themselves. So why not change it? We have the power. We have opportunities. Learn how to be more kind. We can all do a little less take and a lot more give. I love, I care and I desire a better world for us all; a world with less violence and hate between teens and children. Through appropriate outlets, children can learn to love and care about something too; I believe they will grow up with more love and care for the world with a higher self-esteem and strong belief in themselves.