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Back to School

With today being the first day of school for many students around the globe, I have a favour to ask of those among our readership who have children or grandchildren in elementary, middle, high school, and even college or university:

Please consider asking your children or grandchildren to be on the lookout for those who may be new and shy and uncertain about how they will fit in.

Anxiety and nervousness affect some of us in a profound and potentially debilitating way.  A friendly hello or warm gesture can mean the world to someone who is feeling great uncertainty and angst.

If your own child is feeling anxious about an upcoming new setting, speaking from experience, I can share that rather than tell him or her that everything will be okay, it may be more helpful to offer empathy, letting them know that you definitely know what it feels like to be anxious and nervous about starting something new.

Heartfelt empathy is often what is needed more than encouragement or counsel.

Depending on the individual's level of anxiety, it may also be helpful to look for an opportunity to shift the focus to how he or she might be helpful to another student or even teacher who seems uncertain and in need of a friendly presence.  Sometimes, realizing that they can be of comfort to others who are also feeling anxiety can cause enough of a paradigm shift to help them feel better about what lies ahead.

This last part is a real superpower, the ability to self-generate courage and comfort simply from walking with a giving spirit, from looking to be helpful to others who can really benefit from a caring presence.

No matter who we are, where we live, and what our circumstances are, we can always elevate all parts of ourselves by focusing on being of service and even adding an unexpected moment of joy to another person's day.


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