Staying positive during uncertain times can be incredibly difficult. The pandemic has managed to leave a “lingering grey cloud” above all of our heads. In light of this, our team at WHS has decided to use both National Hope Month and Find-A-Rainbow Day to reflect on what hope represents, and how we can preserve this in the minds of our youth.
As parents, we wish for our children to grow up joyful and resilient. To successfully promote the concept of hope, we must first understand what it is and why it’s so important. “The Psychology of Hope”, written by Charles R. Synder, is an excellent source of reference for anyone interested in this topic. Synder was an American psychologist specializing in positive psychology, who based a majority of his life’s work around the concept of hope and its effect on humans. During his research, he established something called the “Hope Theory”. According to this notion, kids who are hopeful are happier. They are more satisfied with life. They even tend to do better with academic and athletic achievements. Hopeful kids are also more apt to create stronger relationships.
Whether you’re an adoptive, foster, or biological parent, we all share one common goal: keeping our children hopeful. To achieve this, we’ve come up with a few interactive ways for you to help drive the hope within their hearts.
- Create a future focus: Start by talking to your child about what it is that they see when they think about their future. For instance, have them close their eyes and imagine their potential best self, then write down what that entails. Find out what they’re looking forward to. Ask them what they want to do, have, and be. After all, thinking about the future and making plans is central to fostering hope.
- Hope centered crafts: Plan a day to sit down and create a “Hope Kit”. This could be a box in which each member of the family puts hopeful stories they’ve heard, pictures that bring them hope, or hopeful experiences they’ve had in the past. To build on this, come up with a plan for ways to celebrate the smaller accomplishments together. Focus on the positives and how lucky you are to just be together. Because after all, it’s the simple things, really.
- Develop a sturdy support system: Never underestimate the power of unconditional love/support and what this means to your child. Merely knowing that you’re there to pick them up when they fall will keep them pushing along the pathway of resiliency.
- Keep things open-ended: If they’re ever seeking an answer to something, instead of just giving them the answer, teach them to take a moment to think. Ask them questions like “What do you think is the next best thing to do?” or “When have you overcome something like this in the past?”. This strategy will motivate your child to rely on their own resourcefulness and initiative. They will be more likely to recall the times they’ve succeeded in the past and use that knowledge to propel forward with the hope that they are capable of doing so again.
Now more than ever, young people are more at risk for falling spirits and lost hope. Let’s take these strides to illuminate their worlds and give hope a fighting chance.
We leave you with this: “Life throws challenges, and every challenge comes with a rainbow and light to conquer it.” -Amit Ray
To learn more and partner with Wolverine to bring hope into a child’s life, please complete the Care Provider Form to start your foster care and adoption parent journey today.