It’s that time of year when
the airwaves and the ether are filled with good intentions for behavior in the
season and in the new year. As the holidays loom, we strive to be our best and
make plans for positive change. We promise ourselves more exercise, greater
patience with loved ones, fewer cookies, more vegetables…The New Year’s
Resolution is our opportunity to make amends.
But the New Year’s
Resolution – all this striving – is fraught with ‘ought.’ I ought to eat less;
The holidays are notoriously fraught with difficult
conversations. Conversations about next semester, conversations about progress,
choices, direction, expectations – the list goes on. Many of these conversations
are bound to take place at the holiday dinner table.
We believe that these difficult conversations do not happen in isolation; students struggle to assert their new independence just as parents struggle to define their new role. While there are no standard protocols or rules of engagement applicable to every family,
You may not have received your grade yet, but you do have a sinking suspicion that is growing into a panic. You have failed a midterm—or two. You are stressed, your self-esteem just took a huge hit, you didn’t meet expectations… And now you wonder what comes next.
Breathe. Take a little time to regain your perspective. And know that you are not alone. Far from it. According to ‘First-Year College Experience,’ a survey conducted by the JED Foundation:
50% of college students reported feeling stressed most or all of the time and 36% did not feel as if they were in control of managing the stress of day-to-day college life.
Simply put, our approach works. We use Appreciative Inquiry to facilitate lasting positive change in our students.
“Appreciative Inquiry is the cooperative search for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them. It involves systematic discovery of what gives a system ‘life’ when it is most effective and capable in economic, ecological, and human terms. AI involves the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to heighten positive potential.
Psychologists Keith Stanovich and Richard West refer to two
systems in the mind, System 1 and System 2.
• System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little
or no effort and no sense of voluntary control. • System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand
it, including complex computations. The operations of System 2 are often
associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice, and concentration.
G.I. Joe was an action figure who, to placate parents, ended
each of his 1980s cartoons with the PSA, “Now you know. And knowing is half the
battle…” The PSA was given within the context of something dangerous kids did
unintentionally – like running out into traffic. Each cartoon would end with
G.I. Joe encircled by a group of kids gleefully shouting, “Now we know!” And
presumedly, those smart kids will never make that same mistake again.