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300 Words – The Importance of Relationships Between Adults and Kids

This Christmas my daughter got engaged. Ali met Josh in their freshman year of college and they graduated together last May.  It was an exciting holiday; sharing the news again and again with family and friends.

We had a small party for her and her fiancé; his parents (from England), Allen and me, Allen’s brother and sister-in-law and another couple that we’ve vacationed with for years.  As we were toasting them it struck me that she was surrounded by adults who are significant in her life, some for as many years as she is old.  More important is that any one of the adults assembled will be there for Ali and Josh as they embark upon this remarkable journey called “Marriage.”  How fortunate they are to have the support of caring adults around them.

Caring adults – what an important concept that is! And it is at the heart of what we do at Adelphoi. How difficult for kids when caring adults are not available.

I’m a big fan of the Search Institute. The organization tag line is “discovering what kids need to succeed.”  You may have heard of their work on identifying the 40 development assets for adolescents. One of my takeaways early on was that 60% of the teens they surveyed expressed a longing for the additional involvement of parents and adults.

More recently the organization has written a report called Relationships First: Creating Connections that Help Young People Thrive (http://page.search-institute.org/relationships-first).  They find that a developmental relationship involves a dynamic mix of five elements:

First, Express Care; “Show me that I matter to you.”

Second, Challenge Growth; “Push me to keep getting better.”

Third, Provide Support; “Help me complete tasks and achieve goals.”

Fourth, Share Power; “Treat me with respect and give me a say.”

Finally, Expand Possibilities; “Connect me with people and places that broaden my horizon”.

We all have complicated lives and we come to this job sometimes with those competing issues weighing heavily. For 2018, I’m challenging myself to push beyond what I need, and make the extra effort to be the adult that the kids we live with or work with need; please join me.

Nancy Kukovich, CEO

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