I’ve been wondering for a while how we develop strengths in a particular area or field.
I completed a strengths assessment on http://www.strengthsfinder.com/home.aspx and I was very interested to read my report and sense that it was uncannily true of me.
In my case I can see that most of my strengths were developed when I was growing up. In my report it says I have a high level of Empathy, which I know I developed from my Mum, who had lots of sayings such as “there but for the grace of God go I” and “walk a mile in there shoes before you criticise” and “treat others as you would like them to treat you”. This gave me the ability to stand back from judgement and relate to the other persons situation. My upbringing was political and very much ground in co-operative action and service of the community.
I also have a strength in that I always consider the unique qualities of each Individual, I do not like generalisations or stereotypes. I am able to draw out the best in individuals because I can see their distinct individual strengths and draw them out.
What strengths are we building in the next generations? What strengths d they need? Are we helping them become reflective? self aware? confident? kind and considerate?
Strengths of character are an important aspect of human civilization that we need to promote in relationship building in schools as they are the places where our children learn to socialise and develop friendships. These are fabulous opportunities for children to develop numerous social skills and develop strengths in their character.
One of the questions I ask my groups in Primary school is “What do you want to be like when you are grown up?” rather than what do you want to be. The responses I get back are very interesting and can show even at that young age the motivations young people have and how they would like to change the world for the good. More of them also say what they don’t want to be like too, which also serves as a barometer for issues they have encountered already in some way.
The more we discuss social situations and encounters and explain why we are all different and how to enjoy the difference in others rather than see them as threatening the more we are building the world that our children want to live in.
Let’s get building!