Ask Nyree

Have you ever been bullied? If so, what makes you different than those who have chosen to take their lives because of it?

Yes, I have been bullied. Why haven’t I decided to take my life? The number one reason is because my grandmother, who is Muslim, told me taking lives is God’s job – no one else’s; that included suicide. She also told me the good die young or that you die when you’re done serving your purpose, and seeing as how I’m still alive I know there are things I need to accomplish. The second biggest reason is because I’m not selfish. I have family and friends who would be devastated and just broken-hearted. There are people who mean the world to me and if they decided to take their lives not only would I be depressed and sad but I’d feel a certain anger because they chose to take themselves away from me and I gave them my love.  And listening to “Far Away” by Marsha Ambrosius just made me think about it more. I know the feeling of wanting to die because of feeling worthless, not good enough, unimportant, lower than dirt. But I always have people who love me around me and they’re always supportive and help me through it. They’re part of the reason I’m still here and I thank God everyday not for just waking me up but blessing me with them.

Lesson in Youth Development
Bullying drives our children to suicide when their core, their self-esteem, their ability to express themselves, their emotional body is weak. It is important that we make sure to engage young people in conversations about purpose.  As Nyree pointed out, it is part of why she is motivated to live.  Additionally, raising children to be a contribution, to be generous and thoughtful can lead them to develop relationships that are mutually beneficial and potentially life-saving elements. And if your family has a religious practice that is fortifying, it could also play a huge part in the well-being of your children.

*Ask Nyree is a weekly response to the questions you always wanted answered by a teen.

Ask Siwe

Who is more influential – teachers or parents?

It depends on the person. In the case of parents, the harsher ones are more influential because we think to ourselves: “I would NEVER do that to MY children when I get older!” And in the case of teachers, the kinder ones are more influential because they really push us to do our work in a way that we enjoy. In the end, I think that a teacher is more influential. My mom influences me a lot–positively and negatively, but it has always been a good teacher who truly stays in my mind. To name one in particular, Sarah Woodbury has made such an inpact on my life that she is a character in the book that I’m writing.

Lesson in Youth Development
Young people see the actions their parents take as things they do because they’re parents. There is a bit of expectation there that blinds them to the truly extraordinary things that some parents do because they have taken the time to research, plan, save, or purchase. Those in the classroom, however, have a unique ability to direct, expose, share, and discuss with the understanding from the young person that they are doing so because they have a genuine interest in their success. Nevertheless, parents, you have the ability to have this type of impact (conscious on the part of your child), if you are sure to remove your ego and fear of how their actions “make you look.” Oh… and it doesn’t hurt you to be funny.

*Ask Siwe is a weekly response to the questions you always wanted answered by a teen. Read her bio HERE.

A Child Shall Lead

With the present state of affairs in Egypt, I believe it is only fitting to allow a child to share with Dream MGMT readers what is going on.

All Things Are Possible

We are privileged to have such a dynamic person working with Dream MGMT. Chris Kazi Rolle’s campaign “All Things Are Possible” enables young people to get the motivation and guidance they need in schools through assembly-style gatherings.

Read more about Chris Kazi Rolle on http://chriskazirolle.com.

Ask Nyree

What do you think are the top 3 reasons a kid would excel in school?

1. Money. If schools paid us, you would see such an amazing difference. Not only would we have a reason for going but then we could be doing something positive with our lives and earning money for it instead of on the streets trying to find ways to get it.
2. Careers. There are certain careers we want, but don’t think school is the way to get it. Or we feel that what we’re learning will not help us to make it happen.
3. Happiness/interest. I feel that a reason we would excel in school is if it is interesting. A lot of teens transfer schools and dropout for a lack of interest or sheer unhappiness. I feel that schools sometimes lack what kids are interested in, whether it’s because of budget or because they simply don’t care. I feel as though if schools had more interesting things (not what they think is interesting but we do) and activities for us then more of us would go.

Lesson in Youth Development
Money, Career, Interest. Our youth blogger believes that young people would excel in school if these three things were paramount in schools. First, Daniel Pink’s Drive, and other data, challenges the belief that people excel based on the money or pay. If you take two people and pay one six figures doing work they don’t particularly enjoy and the other makes half that, but believes the work they are doing matches their purpose in life, the latter does significantly better in their position. Second, we are finding that many schools nationally have begun pushing a college-centric model; “good” school are boasting college-prep in their admissions materials and online rhetoric. Nyree is suggesting that schools with highly effective apprenticeship, internship, and career day models would ultimately increase student interest. Third, our schools are doing a poor job at linking classroom work to individual student interests. This causes them to detach. Schools like High School for Recording Arts, Big Picture Learning, and High Tech High do an amazing job of relating student interests to in class exploration.

*Ask Nyree is a weekly response to the questions you always wanted answered by a teen.

Ask Siwe

Where do you feel you do your best work – school, after-school/community programs, family/home responsibilities, paid job – and why?

I definitely do my best work in paid jobs. There are lots of things I love to do – write, play with small children, and be around books – but there’s not much that could make me happier than being paid to do these things! I’m always complaining about not having money and my mom likes to get on my back about getting a job, but it isn’t easy for a fourteen-year-old in New York City to get a job–not at all.  Money is very important; what’s the point in cleaning my room and all that if I don’t get an allowance for doing my work?

Lesson in Youth Development
Siwe is not alone in believing that her best work is done when paid for it. The truth is, people’s best work is actually done when they are passionate, enlivened, committed to the work. When the work we do is linked to our purpose or is guided by the desire to fulfill on a dream or vision – this is when we experience happiness and ultimately do our best work. Unfortunately, we live in a society addicted to consumption and spend very little time nurturing purpose-driven work.  Our children have been negatively impacted. They believe that buying things – which drives the desire for money and therefore a job – will lead to happiness. And as Siwe is alluding to, happiness is at the root of doing your best work.  Fortunately, our young blogger is clear that she wants to be paid for the things she loves to do.

One of the BEST analysis of children and fostering a relationship to work and money is done on Cameron Herold’s TEDx Talk – Let’s Raise Kids to be Entrepreneurs.

*Ask Siwe is a weekly response to the questions you always wanted answered by a teen. Read her bio HERE.

Ask Siwe

Have you ever been bullied? If so, what makes you different than those who have chosen to take their lives because of it?

Yes, I have been bullied in the past.  What I think separates me from people who have chosen to take their lives due to bullying is that I have always had family and friends to pick me up when I’m down. Without them I might not be here today. I won’t lie and say that it’s easy. I’ve had moments where everything weighs on my shoulders all at once. And in some of those moments I have thought seriously about taking my life– a few times I even tried. But in the end, I’m glad I didn’t succeed because I have so many people around me who care. I’m lucky in that sense; some kids don’t have that.

Lesson in Youth Development
Children, especially between junior high and high school are managing issues with hormones, increased responsibilities at home and in school, and are beginning to solidify a belief system that will potentially guide the rest of their lives.  It is imperative that each of us, whether we “like kids” or “get a long with kids” or not, is in regular communication with at least one child.  Siwe points to the importance of those relationships in overcoming peer pressure, bullying, fear, low self-esteem, etc.  If each one truly did teach one, I believe there’d be less bullying, less life lives, and far more passionate living to witness.

*Ask Siwe is a weekly response to the questions you always wanted answered by a teen. Read her bio HERE.