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May 15, 2018

Opportunities for Growth

Editor’s Note: Each Mind in the Making workshop provides participants the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and practices, learn what researchers have discovered about how children learn best and discuss how to apply this research in their role as a parent or caregiver. This program is an excellent way for you to learn how to improve communication with your kids, become a better role model, and teach essential skills like Focus and Self-Control to your children so they will be ready to learn. Mind in the Making is made possible by the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading with funding provided by The Patterson Foundation. Childcare and food will be provided! Learn More.

Sometimes we find ourselves at a crisis in life and have nowhere to turn.  Some of us are fortunate and can navigate the waters of grief, illness, accident, and addiction with the help of family, friends or the skills we learned early in life.  Some of us must rely on the support of the Salvation Army.  This is where I met some incredible men.  Each man had a rich history and charming personality with deep insight to share with the group.  This experience changed my perception of life and myself.

You may ask, as did these lovely gentlemen, how would a course on The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs relate to them? These men were mandated to attend the Mind in the Making workshop so you can imagine the enthusiasm.  I must give them credit, they were very courteous and respectful but saw no value in their time spent with us. I’m not sure I could have been as kind if I was in the same situation.  We listened to their concerns and shared our own experience about attending the eight modules of Mind in the Making.  This conversation allowed us to get to know each other on a more personal level.  The gentlemen agreed to give us a chance but were not making any promises.  I left the first night feeling energized and ready for the challenge, although a bit nervous.

Each week, their enthusiasm and participation grew as we covered a new essential life skill. Some of the discussions were insightful, and some forced us to reflect on hard issues.  The men started to see the connection between the Mind in the Making modules and some of the problems they were experiencing in their lives.  The perspective taking module was a huge aha moment for many, and the questions and comments deepened my understanding of my own personal growth.  By the time we reached the last essential life skill, we had broken bread, debated important topics, and created friendships that felt genuine.  I think I received a great deal from this experience and hope that the participants did too.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this journey!

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