When I read that July is “National Make a Difference to Children Month,” I thought back to my childhood. Who did I look up to? Certainly, my parents, but who else? As a grade school student at Villa Maria the Sisters of St. Joseph served that role. I had a piano teacher, Sister Lucille, who encouraged me to be a musician and an English teacher, Sister Eulalla, who inspired me to be a writer.
At the Elizabeth Lee Black School, we strive to make a difference for every child every day. Many of our students see our faculty as both friends and mentors. But even if you don’t work in a school or directly with children, there are many ways to become involved and make a difference in the life of a child you know!
Giving your attention to a child can go a long way – all it takes is for one person to make a difference. Here are some ideas on how to help a child become successful:
- Always stay positive. Lead by example and show the child to look for the bright side in any situation.
- Help the child immerse themselves in what they love and guide them towards success.
- Ask questions! It shows you are interested in their life and wellbeing. And in turn, take the time to truly listen to what the child is saying.
- Encourage perseverance – a child can never receive too much positive feedback which can help them develop a “never-give-up” attitude.
- Celebrate the strengths of the child and remove any focus on their weaknesses. They don’t need to be reminded on what may not be able to do, however sometimes they will need encouragement to discover what they can do!
There are also numerous groups, ie. Special Olympics, Big Brothers, local nonprofits and churches that can provide you with opportunities to be engaged with children.
I often think of the quote, “A hundred years from now, it will not matter the sort of house you lived in, the amount of money in your bank account, or the kind of car you drove… but the world may be different because you were important in the life of a child.”
Isn’t that what life is all about?