He drove too fast down our quiet residential street. He didn’t care that young kids were playing there. It bothered me so much that I think my blood actually started to boil. He was absolutely oblivious to his surroundings… or so I thought.
It was at this same time that I started learning about developmental assets. I decided to try something new. And NO I didn’t completely loose it on him, although I must admit that it did flash in my thoughts. I was going to get to know him. I started with simple “Hellos” & “How are yous?” along with small talk, nothing big. I started to be intentional and struck up a conversation with him. It wasn’t long before I noticed he wasn’t driving quite as fast anymore. Amazing… building relationships really does make a difference.
The relationship continued on this note. More friendly chatter if our paths crossed throughout the day. One night when his parents were away, he came over to let me know he was having friends over. He wanted us to let him know if they were too loud. “Wow” Really? That was thoughtful of him. And yes… they were a bit too loud but it was only one night. They weren’t being destructive, so we just kept an eye out from a distance just in case any help was needed.
One night, we received a knock on the door. He was standing there wondering if he could talk to us. He shared with us how he was applying to the police academy and was wondering if he could put us down as a reference.
This moment has always stuck with me. The relationship with this boy could have been so different had I taken a different path & got angry with him about his driving. Instead I chose to get to know him.
Thanks to learning about assets I chose to get to know him. Now I build them not only in my own kids, but in all kids. Thinking back, it really didn’t take much effort at all. This was my first “trial” run with intentional use of assets. Now I do it all the time. I hope other adults will help build assets in our teens (mine too), I know how powerful a positive adult relationship can be!
Oh and of course we said “yes”.
So as the weather warms and the neighbours start to come out of their hibernation. Make it intentional. Get to know them, all of them.
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