As we approach the end of the school year I want to introduce the notion of Courage: Courage for Next Steps. With endings come new beginnings and opportunity. However, as we move forward with next steps we let go of what has been familiar, routine, automatic. As we do so we may find ourselves in foreign and uncharted territory not just physically but emotionally, intellectually, with personal relationships and supports.

Seniors in High School who will be graduating shortly. They will be taking next steps whether to college, training school or work. The day to day of family life and structure will be soon replaced with the new world of dorm life, college classes, freedoms not previously known. Everything will be new and therefore presents challenges across virtually every dimension of living.

Courage is a concept often overlooked as we imbue qualities to our teens for healthy living and navigating next steps. It does take courage to step out into the unknown. But courage does not mean reckless. Courage means believing, trusting in learning, thinking before acting, breathing, connecting with family and friends, baby steps, one step at a time, evaluating and then taking next steps. Courage means knowing that we learn from “skinned knees”, by trying the new, by exploring, by embracing the unfamiliar.

As adults who care and have held our youth close as they have moved forward one year at a time, it is now our job to help them know that they can take next steps, just as they once took first steps, literally. We were there to hold them when they fell. We will be behind the scenes now to help them one new baby step at a time, with courage in their souls to grow, have adventure, learn, satisfy curiosity and create memories that will fuel them each moment.