Original Publication: Kenwood News
How can you personally revolutionize your life? What negative in your life do you need to “cut the rope” from? These were the thought provoking questions posed to Kenwood High students at last week’s Personal Revolution Assembly with guest speaker and author Joshua Spears with the Joshua York Legacy Foundation, a suicide prevention organization.
Each class attended the hour long presentation with their peers to leave with the motivation to change their perspective and possibly attitude to revolutionize their lives and their futures. Spears shared how others’ criticism and doubt of him shaped his perception of himself growing up. What others tell us about ourselves is what we tend to believe about ourselves so if those around us are putting us down and criticizing us more than encouraging and lifting us up, that negative talk turns into our own negative self talk. Spears reminds us though that the “people telling you you can’t do something are liars.” He points out how those lies are poison, and we, not someone else, gets to decide how we see ourselves and our self worth. He states, “Don’t walk around in bondage to how others tell you to see yourself.”
Spears went on to remind students they are the main character in their own movie. Though we may not always get to control the “plot events” we do get to decide how our character reacts to those moments. We are responsible for our reactive behaviors and we have to own that. When we treat others with respect and kindness it will come back to us.
Spears ends with encouraging students to be their own personal revolution. To personally revolutionize their life they need to change how they see themselves, how they see others, and how they see their future. Students were told to “cut the rope” from the negative talk- self imposed or from others- that is shaping how they see themselves and their future and to remember to ask themselves what are they saying to others that may shape how they see themselves.
As Kenwood Principal, Mr. Powell, reminds students at the beginning and end of every day, ““As always, make sure we are just being nice, taking care of each other, our building, and our community.” Kindness goes a long way to “rise above” the negative talk to “strive for more”.
A recent article we ran called To Be a Teenager composed by a variety of Kenwood students reflected the pressure they often feel today from their parents, teachers, peers, and society. Teenage depression and suicide is on the rise. As teachers and parents it’s important to remind ourselves they are still growing and finding their way and more than anything they needed to be reminded they are loved and of the positive they have to offer the world.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-19 year olds; however, youth suicide is a largely preventable death if we strengthen our lives and those around us with love and kindness.
Maryland Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-422-0009
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Josh Chretien is the boyfriend of Josh York, and a founder of the organization. After spending a little over 5 years in the Marines, he decided to get out and fulfill life, which led to later meeting Josh York, and he now runs his own company, Priceless Consulting LLC and this foundation, The Joshua York Legacy Foundation.