“Why do I have to complete this math homework when I will never use it again?” Why should I attend school when the teachers are always against me?” “Why would I try out for the team when I know I will get cut?”
“Why should I try at all?”
These questions are often asked by youth around our nation and many parents struggle at answering them in an effective way, aside from using the old, “cause that is what I told you do!” Wouldn’t life be much simpler if we knew the answer to WhyTry? and used it as motivation to accomplish our goals?
The question WhyTry? is being answered by social worker and author, Christian Moore. Christian was in Flint this week to visit our Heroic Leadership Academy and was kind enough to speak to an audience later that night at The Flint Public Library. To say Christian is passionate about helping youth and adults answer the question, WhyTry?, is an understatement.
Growing up outside Washington, D.C. was not a cake walk for Christian. If you have read his book, The Resilience Breakthrough, or heard Christian speak, you know that being a little white kid with curly blonde hair was both a curse and a blessing. As he explained to the GEARup2LEAD HLA students, “...being the little cute white kid meant the police would never check me for drugs. I was running drugs at age 7 because the police never suspected me of doing anything wrong and the dealers knew that…” That was the curse. The blessing was that once he hit secondary school, no one was allowed to mess with the skinny cute white kid. The “gang bangers” had his back. Christian explained to the community audience, “I learned about social injustice at an early age. See, the police would simply give me a Washington Redskins trading card and take me home, they never searched me because I was white.”
Fast forward to now, over twenty years after Mama Jackson told him to shape up or ship out (read the book!). Christian uses his negative experiences in Washington D.C. with his family, his peers, and most of all, his schooling, to tell a story not of failure but great success. Through these negative experiences, resilience was built and Christian will tell you, as he told us in Flint, “I am a stronger person because of my negative experiences because I learned how to move forward in spite of my circumstances.”
WhyTry? is a researched based, engaging curriculum that is being implemented in over 22,000 schools and continues to be used by social workers, counselors, and classroom teachers across the nation. The curriculum provides many strategies to use with youth, and adults, to dig deep and find the resilience we all have to provide positive energy and a growth mindset to equip us for success. Using music, videos, and activities that prompt students to use real life scenarios, WhyTry? is a social/emotional curriculum that actually connects with both youth and adults on a very realistic level. As Christian explained, “...we all have the ability to reframe our limitations and transform them into strengths.” The Heroic Leadership Academy is doing just that! Each HLA student is learning that the labels and stereotypes society lays on them is nothing more than a spark ready to ignite them to greatness. WhyTry? provides the tools within their tool bag helping start the fire within! Next time you hear the question, WhyTry?, look no further than to Christian Moore’s story and help your children, students, or colleagues find the intrinsic resilience that exists within all of us.
Learn more about WhyTry?