Ben Rheinheimer | September 17, 2021

I am a big fan of TikTok. I have spent many minutes on that app. OK, it is probably more like hours, but we aren’t going to talk about that right now. Anyways, one of the accounts that I enjoy following is @vicblends. Vic is a barber who enjoys heading into the community and offering a free haircut for a chance to chat with people and hear about their advice for life. In one of his recent conversations, he ran into a man who gave this advice:

“Don’t beat yourself up…You want to be at Z but you got to go through A, B, C, D, E, F, G. You got to go through the steps. Don’t beat yourself up for being at G, when you want to get to Z. Because if you beat yourself up you ain’t ever going to get there.”

If I could have just one message as a way to describe the value of Simple Interaction’s dimension of Opportunity to Grow, this might be it. Whether it is for ourselves or for the children and youth we work with, we have goals and expectations. However, it is important to remember that those goals take time and there are many steps along the way. We can’t get to Z without getting to G. And we can’t get to G without first getting to F. The Simple Interactions framework defines Opportunity to Grow as “presenting incremental challenge and matching with appropriate support”. We build great relationships with children by helping them learn and overcome each small challenge along the way to their grand goals. We would love to see all the kids we work with get to Z but our greatest accomplishment might actually be helping them go from F to G. Because it is in that small accomplishment that the journey continues. It is in that jump that we help kids realize their success versus them beating themselves up because they are “only” at G.

But this challenge goes for us too. When you started working with kids, or when you had kids, maybe you had a big, grandiose Z goal in mind of what you would accomplish. But as you read this today, maybe it feels like you are only at a G. Well guess what, don’t beat yourself up! This is hard work. Focus instead on how far you have come and what it will take to get to an H. This journey is long, so I encourage you to find just one Opportunity to Grow for yourself or a kid you work with and celebrate those small victories.

 To learn more about ULEAD’s Simple Interactions programming click HERE or contact us at experiences@uleadinc.org.

Ben Rheinheimer, Self-Efficacy Curator at ULEAD