We know the importance “Community” has in a young person’s life from looking at the various ways in which a person develops through their community. I believe that a negative community from a young age has a huge effect on the future of a young person’s life. Let’s take a look at the individual issues that arise from a negative community.
Increase in bullying and the “learning” that bullying is the norm, resulting in emotional distress or the young person becoming a bully themselves and passing on this learned behaviour. Cyber bullying has increased with the rise in social media and smartphones, this has been widely publicised by the media but let’s look at the facts, the national statistics from National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics has found:
28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying
20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.
Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others in surveys.
Lower confidence and self esteem resulting in a highly critical and negative inner voice which translates later in life into lower aspirations and with no immediate inspiration surrounding a young person in their developmental years, they see many things as “out of their reach” and so do not attempt to achieve more.
Negative peer pressure resulting in poor decisions or bad behaviour, which can result in criminal activity, delinquency, poor attendance in school and
Poor health and fitness which gets worse in later life and can cause obesity, cardiovascular conditions and lower life expectancy.
Slower Cognitive Development, lower grades in school which translates in later life into less opportunity.
Poor emotional development or even emotional distress which translates in later life into negative relationships being formed.
The Power of a Positive Community
We know the huge effect a negative community can have for a young person. Let’s now look at the effect and benefits that a Strong, positive community can have on a young person.
There are 4 main areas I believe a positive community can and should benefit a young person.
– Dealing with failure or defeat and providing a positive perspective which will teach the individual to contextualise the ups and downs they will have in their life and ensure they learn the value of perseverance.
– Provide constant support helping the individual through tough times or transitions (I’ve seen this make the biggest impact through the loss of loved ones, separation of parents and transitioning from schools). The impact of this is incredible when you consider the effect of these highly stressful situations can have on an individual and also consider how, without any support or worse, in a negative community they would respond or develop from it.
– Promote supporting one another and teaching the importance of empathy, this teaching will be carried on in their lives even unto how they raise their own children. We learn so much from our peers and empathy is often an overlooked social skill which adds to the emotional intelligence of the individual and certainly improves their character.
– Develops strong relationships with other members and enjoys their time this will visibly improve their happiness.
Encouragement of Health Physical and Fitness
– Participating in a healthy physical routine that promotes a healthy lifestyle and can prevent obesity, health issues and reduce the chances of anxiety and depression.
– Encourages healthy nutrition and understands its importance, this learning can stay with a young person for life preventing many nutrition based problems as discussed in Modern Problems, Ninja Nutrition.
– See’s a healthy lifestyle as a high priority and displays this through it’s group decisions this will ensure the individual enjoys their physical activity and considers being active and healthy a part of normal daily routine.
– Increase the individual’s aspirations which will ensure they strive to be the best they can be. This will totally change what the individual aspires to become or how they see themself and effects both their problem solving skills, their mindset and more immediately their confidence and perception of self worth.
– Provide a huge amount of perspective on life, encouraging the individual to “see the big picture” and provide them with a deeper meaning to the challenges and successes of life, this great perspective on the world will also encourage the individual to seek out “bigger problems” to solve in order to make a bigger impact and become a leader in their community.
Encourage Challenge and Adventure
– Build independence in the individual as they seek out challenges and have to make our own important decisions, this is a skill that will drastically affect peer pressure and reduce instances of peer pressure influencing the individual in a negative way as they become accustomed to making their own, bold decisions.
– Increasing resilience to stressful situations, provides the individual with the ability to lead others and to become an inspiration to others as well as empowering their own lives.
– Improve resourcefulness, by tackling challenges, we often have to think on our feet and this process can be applied to many challenges life throws at us. Certainly the concept of developing resourcefulness is vital, the old adage “It’s never a lack of resources but a lack of resourcefulness” certainly rings true. More on this in the Challenge Section in alter chapters.
– Hugely increase in confidence and Self Esteem through the process of setting and achieving goals.
– Enriching the individuals life with more opportunities to explore, this thirst for exploration will encourage the individual to learn more about the world we live in.
– Promoting healthy competition within a supportive community with the aim to build each other up.
When all of these 4 areas are established and the points listed are achieved, the individual will be part of a community that has the power to reshape their life, filling them with pride and confidence and providing them with lessons that will be taken with them for life and a support network that will help them weather the storm of adolescent, prevent bullying, deal with school transitions or the loss of loved ones.
In the next blog we are going to look at what makes a Black Belt Community!