University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #FCS9090

Developing Skills for Youthful Leaders: Module 3: Being Your Best1

Elizabeth B. Bolton, John R. Rutledge, Linda Bowman and Linda Barber2

This document is best viewed as a PDF. Click here to access the PDF.

Teaching Instructions

Preparing to Teach

  1. Prepare for teaching this lesson by reading and familiarizing yourself with the objectives, materials, handouts and exercises.

  2. Begin your preparation several days in advance so that you will be able to secure whatever additional resources you need to make the lesson a "local" learning experience.

  3. Plan your learning environment with care so that the surroundings contribute to the achievement of the objectives.

  4. Begin on time and end on time. Schedule a break at about midpoint of the lesson.

  5. With all lessons after the first, ask participants what they did as a result of last week's lesson. Record these!

  6. Introduce each lesson with an overview of how it fits with leadership development program for youth.

  7. End each lesson with a summary and restatement of objectives. Tell participants what you expect them to do with the lesson after they leave.

  8. Heighten their anticipation for the next lesson without sharing too much.

  9. Each lesson is designed for approximately two hours. Use your judgment on shortening or expanding various parts according to the needs of your participants.

  10. The two hour lesson is divided into sections that are described in the "Teaching Guide." Each section starts with a title, description of the activity, purpose, time needed to complete it, materials needed, and directions for students or teacher. Use the notes portion of each section to record suggestions for the next time the lesson is used.

  11. Each lesson contains a combination of brief lectures and student activities designed for the objectives of each lesson. The lectures are short and the student activities are designed for students to experience the point or topic of the lecture. Both the lectures and the student activities may be modified as appropriate for a specific student group or topic.

  12. Student handouts are included for selected sections of each lesson. When these are included, duplications for each student should be prepared prior to the class. Masters for overhead transparencies or power points are also included for selected sections.

  13. After each lesson, students are asked to share the experiences they have had with their parents. A letter to the parents or a parent teen exercise is included with each lesson. Prepare the appropriate number of copies in advance and tell students this is part of the leadership experience. Solicit feedback from parents and record this in the notes for each lesson.

  14. "Homework" as an after class assignment to enable students to use the topics in a situation outside the classroom is included in each lesson. Assign this at the end of the class and ask for reports, verbal or written, of the "homework" assignment prior to beginning a new lesson.

  15. These materials, lectures, activities, and handouts come from many sources and care is taken to document the original source when it is known. If the original source or author is not known, a secondary source is given.

Objectives

  1. To identify your own unique personality traits.

  2. To accept both compliments and criticism from others in a positive way.

  3. To choose one trait to work toward improving and develop a specific plan for improvement.

  4. To recognize that you must take risks in order to grow and develop.

  5. To learn to value yourself.

Lesson Outline

Table 1. 

Section and Topic

Page

Time

1. Being Your Best Self

Lecture

Objectives

8

5 mins.

2. Self Inventory

Student Activity

Take a Good Look

9

10 mins.

3. Don't Be Afraid to Fail

Reading

Class Discussion

10

15 mins.

4. Receiving Compliments

Student Activity

Small Group Discussion

11

15 mins.

5. Reflective Criticism

Student Activity

Class Discussion

12

10 mins.

Break

5 mins.

6. Self Concept

Questionnaire

13

15 mins.

7. Working Towards a Plan

Lecture and Discussion

14

15 mins.

8. Praising Ourselves, Praising Others

Lecture

15

15 mins.

9. Want Ads

Student Activity

16

10 mins.

10. Celebrating a Success Story

Student Activity

17

10 mins.

11. Student Handouts

Homework

Letter to Parents

18

5 mins.

Teaching Guide

Section 1 - Being Your Best Self

Title: Being Your Best Self

Description: Brief Lecture

Purpose: Introduction

Time: About 5 minutes

Materials Needed: Transparency of Objectives

Directions: Give presentation from lecture section titled Being your Best Self. Show objectives and read them aloud. Tell students these are the things they will learn in this lesson.

Notes:

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Section 2 - Self-Inventory

Title: Self-Inventory

Description: Student Activity and Lecture

Purpose: To identify uniqueness about oneself

Time: About 10 minutes

Materials needed: Paper and Pencil

Directions: (a) Tell about yourself by listing all your personal strengths in a column on a single sheet of paper.

Give brief lecture, "Take A Good Look." See lecture section.

Notes:

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Section 3 - Don't Be Afraid to Fail

Title: Don't Be Afraid To Fail

Description: Lecture, Reading and discussion

Purpose: To enable students to see failure as a stepping stone to achievement

Time: About 15 minutes

Materials needed: "Don't Be Afraid to Fail" in lecture section

Directions: (a) Read "Don't Be Afraid to Fail" to students. Initiate a discussion with the following questions:

    • Do you see that failure can be a stepping stone to achievement at a later date?

    • Is it necessary to take a risk in order to achieve?

    • Is it ever possible to do anything without the risk of failure?

Complete lecture with material on "Self Evaluation" and "Change Involves Risk Taking."

Notes: _____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Section 4 - Receiving Compliments

Title: Receiving Compliments

Description: Student Activity

Purpose: To be able to receive compliments from others

Time: About 15 minutes

Materials needed: One copy for each student of "Receiving Compliments" found in activities section

Directions: Ask each student to fill out the questionnaire. Form small groups of three or four and give time for discussion. Use the "Targets" part of the questionnaire to initiate discussion in small groups.

Notes: _____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Section 5 - Reflective Criticism

Title: Reflective Criticism

Description: Student Activity

Purpose: To be able to see criticism as information that can be helpful

Time: About 10 minutes

Materials Needed: None

Directions:

Introduce this exercise by asking the students to recall situations when they were being justly criticized. Encourage students to reflect on how they often secretly agreed with the criticism but could not admit it. Then ask them to write down one critical comment about themselves. Divide the group into pairs and ask partners to trade their critical comments. Provide the following instructions:

Read each other's item. Then assume roles as "speakers" and "receivers." The receiver gives the speaker his written self-criticism in two ways: face the receiver as if you were actually criticizing him or her; for example, if your partner mentioned poor handwriting as a weakness, the speaker says, "You have terrible handwriting."

After hearing the first critical statements, the receiver responds by saying how he or she feels, paying attention to how the statement was spoken and what emotions it evoked. Then the speaker repeats the same comment, but this time the receiver responds only to the contents of the statement. Then switch roles and try the same sequence again.

After ten minutes, call the group together for a discussion. Emphasize how painful it is to be criticized and how difficult it is to hear the actual message and evaluate its meaning. Describe how the focus often shifts to the emotional tone instead of the actual message.

Notes:

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Section 6 - Bledsoe Self-Concept Scale

Title: Bledsoe Self-Concept Scale

Description: Student Activity

Purpose: To enable students to understand their self concept

Time: About 15 minutes

Materials Needed: One copy for each student of the Bledsoe Self-Concept Scale

Directions: After students complete instrument, add this to the Personal Inventory they completed at the beginning of the class.

Notes:

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Section 7 - Working Towards a Plan

Title: Working Towards a Plan

Description: Lecture and discussion

Purpose: To enable students to see that achievement involves planning

Time: About 15 minutes

Materials needed: "Working Towards a Plan" in lecture section and "Plan of Action" transparency

Directions: (a) Present brief lecture and allow students to discuss main points. (b) Show transparency and ask students to develop a plan of action in small groups.

Notes:

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Section 8 - Praising Ourselves and Praising Others

Title: Praising Ourselves and Praising Others

Description: Lecture

Purpose: To show that accepting yourself can involve praising yourself

Time: About 5 minutes

Materials needed: “Praising Ourselves” in lecture section.

Directions: Present brief lecture.

Notes:

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Section 9 - Want Ads

Title: Want Ads

Description: Student Activity and discussion

Purpose: To see oneself in a positive way; group members try to "sell" themselves to others by emphasizing positive characteristics of themselves in a make-believe want ad.

Time: About 15 minutes

Materials needed: One 3x5 card for each member of the group

Directions:

  1. Ask each group member to write a want ad for themselves on their card. The object they are trying to sell will be themselves, so their task will be to emphasize their positive characteristics.

  2. Collect all the cards as they are completed. When everyone is finished, read each card aloud to the group. Have group members try to guess who wrote the card.

Discussion: Ask the group the following questions:

  1. How did it feel to talk about only the positive side of yourself?

  2. Would it have been easier to talk about the negative aspects? Why?

Notes:

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Section 10 - Celebrating a Success Story

Title: Celebrating A Success Story

Description: Student Activity

Purpose: To learn that when you help someone else you build your own self concept

Time: About 10 minutes

Materials needed: One copy of Handout #3, "Celebrating A Success Story" for each student

Directions: Ask students to complete items 1 through 3 on the activity.

Notes:

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Section 11 - Homework

Title: Homework

Description: Student homework activity

Purpose: To conclude lesson

Time: About 5 minutes

Materials needed: Handouts 5 and 6 for homework assignment; handout 7 for reading; Letter to Parents

Directions: Assign homework; give out handouts 5,6,and 7 and Letter to parents.

Notes:

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Lecture Materials

Being Your Best Self - Short Lectures

Introduction

"Being Yourself, Your Best Self" has a lot to do with attitude. Having a positive attitude and expecting to do your best is essential to a person's success. Aptitude and a little hard work may also play an important role in one's success; however, attitude will be a determining factor, especially in the long road of life.

Take a Good Look

The first step in developing a positive attitude in order to be "your best self" is a realistic evaluation. Without constant evaluation and re-evaluation, a person will stagnate or get in a rut; no change or positive improvement can occur. Recognize even the smallest of successes and also the largest of failures. Failures or weaknesses are not something of which to be afraid or ashamed. They are something to be learned from and can serve as points from which to progress.

Don't Be Afraid to Fall

You've failed many times although you may not remember.

You fell down the first time you tried to walk.

You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn't you?

Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat?

Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.

English novelist John Creasy got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs. Don't worry about failure.

Worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try.

Change Involves Risk Taking

It is always a risk to leave behind a familiar environment for something new. It should be taught that risk-taking is positive and necessary to growth and development. As Zig Ziglar says, "people in life who don't succeed don't actually plan to fail; their problem is that they don't plan anything." To succeed, one must make plans to change and be willing to take risks.

Self- Evaluation

In self-evaluation, feedback from other people can provide a perspective of which the individual may not be aware. As it is not always possible to "poll" others for their input, the compliments or criticism they give should be viewed as a tool for gaining outside perspectives for self-evaluation. Although it is good to "feel good" about receiving a compliment, one should not let the "emotional tone" of a compliment or criticism overrule, but should focus on the "current" of the message.

Working Towards a Plan

Strengths and weaknesses are characteristics which make a person unique. Every person has his/her own set of characteristics. Although some of these characteristics may be considered to be weaknesses or negative, each person is still special and of value to our world. You are loved and cherished regardless of competence or accomplishments. Weaknesses or negative characteristics are not what determines a person's value. A negative message to youth is "You are bad because you do bad things."

The positive message is, "You sometimes do things I don't like, but you are still a worthwhile person." Behaviors people exhibit may be negative; however, behaviors can be changed if an individual so desires. Each person is in control of his/her own behavior.

In order to be "your best self," one must constantly change (i.e., grow and develop). Change (growth) is possible when realistic goals are set and a specific plan for improvement, or "plan of action," is developed. To set goals, it must be determined what the individual wants to do or be (i.e., more outgoing). Also, what weakness (e.g., timidity) is desired to be changed, or possibly even what strength (e.g., outgoing, but only in certain groups) is desired to be improved upon or capitalized on? Next, the "Plan of Action" must be developed as follows:

  1. Identification and selection of weakness, or area for improvement (e.g., timidity)

  2. Formulation of goal (e.g., to be more outgoing)

  3. Description of specific steps or actions (e.g., to talk to one new classmate a day; to attend the school mixer and meet 3 new people; offer to help tutor classmates in best subject).

  4. Determine a time frame (e.g., one semester).

  5. Evaluation of progress--decide if it is necessary to continue focusing on this area and/or if it is time to move on to a new area.

Through identification of strengths and weaknesses and by working on things in "bite-size chunks," you can continually strive to be the best person.

Praising Ourselves

This is nothing to be afraid of! It is not conceit. It is simply taking credit for who you are and what you have done and not just attributing a good effort to luck. Human nature has us dwell on our failures and mistakes. "Own" your successes, not only your failures. By recognizing our strengths and focusing on them, we are able to develop a positive attitude. When one frets over weaknesses, negative attitudes emerge. As is commonly known in computer jargon, "Garbage In, Garbage Out." In other words, whatever one inputs is what they get out. Self-praise means to explore and build upon one's achievements and successes. This will develop self-confidence and a positive attitude.

Praising Those Around Us

It is impossible for a person "to be their best self" when he or she is ego-centered. Self-centeredness or self-consciousness often indicates insecurity or lack of self-confidence. If people do their "homework" by developing a "Plan of Action" and by applying "self-praise" principles, they will be able to take their minds away from self and focus on others. Focusing on others by offering honest praise and feedback and displaying common courtesy and appreciation should be practiced in all relationships. Demonstrating an unconditional acceptance of others (i.e., "I like you for who you are") will in turn cause others to be more open and accepting of you. Good relationships are the key to working with others cooperatively. This leads to everyone being successful at "being their best self."

Remember: In praising others, it is important to be specific and sincere. Being open with your feelings will make you feel good.

Overhead Transparency Masters

Overhead A - Objectives

Table 2. 

OBJECTIVES

    • To identify your own unique personality traits.

    • To accept both compliments and criticism from others in a positive way.

    • To choose one trait to work toward improving and develop a specific plan for improvement.

    • To recognize that you must take risks in order to grow and develop.

    • To learn to value yourself.

Overhead B - Plan of Action

PLAN OF ACTION

  1. Identification and selection of area or improvement

  2. Formulation of a goal

  3. Description of steps

  4. Determination of time frame

  5. Evaluation of progress

Student Handouts

Handout #1 - Receiving Compliments.

Activity

Conditional Compliments I Was Given in Childhood

"If you're good, I will love you so-o-o much."

1.

2.

3.

Conditional Compliments I Received Currently

"If you'd cut your hair, you'd really be pretty."

1.

2.

3.

Unconditional Compliments I Was Given in Childhood

1.

2.

3.

Unconditional Compliments I Receive Currently

1.

2.

3.

TARGETS

Words or phrases that hurt me the most are

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________.

Things people do that really hurt me are

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________.

Words or phrases that make me feel really good are

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________.

Things people do that really make me feel good are

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________.

The target I most fear is __________________________________________________.

The target I most want is _________________________________________________.

I want to get a (describe)______________________ from (name)___________________________.

I don't ask for it because I'm afraid of ________________________________________.

The worst thing that could happen if my fears are realized is

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________.

What I need to do to get the compliments and support I want is to ___________________________________________________ instead of ______________________________________________________.

Handout #2 - Bledsoe Self-Concept Scale

A SURVEY OF SPECIFIC INSTRUMENTS BLEDSOE SELF-CONCEPT SCALE

There is a need for each of us to know more about what we are like. This is to help you describe yourself and to describe how you would like to be. There are no right or wrong answers; each person may have different ideas. Answer these according to your feelings. It is important for you to give your own honest answers.

Think carefully and check the answer that tells if the word is describing you. In the left hand column, check the answer "This is the Way I Am"--Nearly Always, About ½ the time or Just Now and Then.

Table 3. 

This is The Way I Am

 

This Is The Way I'd Like To Be

Nearly Always

About ½ the Time

Just Now and Then

Nearly Always

About ½ the Time

Just Now and Then

________

________

________

friendly

________

________

________

________

________

________

cold

________

________

________

________

________

________

brave

________

________

________

________

________

________

small

________

________

________

________

________

________

helpful

________

________

________

 

________

________

________

honest

________

________

________

________

________

________

cheerful

________

________

________

________

________

________

active

________

________

________

________

________

________

jealous

________

________

________

________

________

________

quiet

________

________

________

 

________

________

________

strong

________

________

________

________

________

________

a good sport

________

________

________

________

________

________

mean

________

________

________

________

________

________

lazy

________

________

________

________

________

________

poor

________

________

________

 

________

________

________

smart

________

________

________

________

________

________

popular

________

________

________

________

________

________

useful

________

________

________

________

________

________

clean

________

________

________

________

________

________

kind

________

________

________

 

________

________

________

selfish

________

________

________

________

________

________

dull

________

________

________

________

________

________

healthy

________

________

________

________

________

________

timid

________

________

________

________

________

________

slow

________

________

________

 

________

________

________

faithful

________

________

________

________

________

________

lonely

________

________

________

________

________

________

polite

________

________

________

________

________

________

talkative

________

________

________

 

Handout #3 - Celebrating a Success Story.

CELEBRATING A SUCCESS STORY

Recall a time when you helped someone else learn something, develop a new skill, accomplish a goal, or solve a problem. This experience should be one that is easy to recall and bring back positive feelings. Be prepared to share this "helping relationship" in a two minute story. You will learn that when you help someone else you build your own self-concept.

1. As you listened to the stories of your classmates, what emotions or feelings were generally associated with the success stories related to helping others (e.g., excitement, appreciation, joy, etc.)?

__________________________ __________________________

__________________________ __________________________

__________________________ __________________________

__________________________ __________________________

2. What factors were usually associated with these successful helping relationships (e.g., encouragement, hard work, wise decision, etc.)?

__________________________ __________________________

__________________________ __________________________

__________________________ __________________________

__________________________ __________________________

3. How have these stories helped you?

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

"MANY PEOPLE HAVE GONE FURTHER THAN THEY THOUGHT THEY COULD BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE THOUGHT THEY COULD"

Handout #4 - What Makes You So Appreciated.

WHAT MAKES YOU SO APPRECIATED -- IS THE WAY YOU APPRECIATE OTHERS!

Everyone knows that adage, "Honey catches more flies than vinegar." It is often used to remind one to take the positive approach in relating to others.

If you want to see a person "blossom," use sincere praise liberally and criticism rarely: Doing so will change you, too!

Below are a dozen ways to give a lift to those around you -- whether it be family, friends, co-workers or even strangers. See if you can add enough ideas to this list to double the number within the next month.

1. "That's really nice of you, ______________________ 1/___________________________."

2. "Thank you very much. You've helped to make my day,________________________."

3. "Wow! you really know how to _____________2/________________well, _________."

4. "I like the times when you _____________________________, ____________________."

5. "That is a neat project you are working on, ______________________________. I'm anxious to see how it works!"

6. "______________________________, that is quite an improvement in the way you ______________________________. You are consistently making improvement."

7. "I'll bet your grandmother, Aunt _____________________ or Uncle _______________ would be proud of you if they could see this."

8. "I like the way you said that, _____________________. You have made me realize __________________________________.

9. "You make me feel good, ______________________, when you ___________________" 1

0. "It is obvious to me that you take a lot of pride in _______________________."

11. "Thank you for the help, ___________________________________________________."

12. "Thank you, ______________________, for your help. Working with you makes a task so much more enjoyable."

11. Use name when possible. It increases the impact of what you have to say.

12. Be specific. Say what it was you like that he/she did in order to reinforce a particular behavior and "maximize the voltage" of your compliment.

Adapted from New Mexico Family Life Newsletter, Leo Yates, Editor. July-August, 1984.

Handout #5 - Building Self-Reliance Activity.

PARENT-CHILD ACTIVITY FOR BUILDING SELF-RELIANCE/BEST SELF

Purpose: To help family members recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and to gain experiences which lead to accomplishments or personal goals and self-reliance.

Supplies: A listing of responsibilities that are necessary to keep the family household operating (meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, housecleaning, laundry, etc.). These should also be tasks the individual would need to do if they were living "on their own."

A weekly work chart.

Directions: Discuss as a family the things that are necessary to keep the family operating smoothly or that individuals would need to know if they were living on their own.

Ask each person to name those things:

• they are capable of doing;

• they like to do;

• they do not feel capable of doing;

• they would like to learn to do.

Go through the listing of responsibilities as a family, giving each individual something they are capable of doing, something they like to do and something they would like to learn to do. Decide what kind of help is needed in learning to do a task one does not know how to do and what resources could be helpful.

In this activity each family member needs to feel:

• they had choices;

• they had support;

• they had encouragement;

• they received recognition for what they accomplished.

Avoid overloading on family tasks and use the activity as a learning experience rather than a list of duties.

Reference: Anthony, R. The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence. New York: Bradley Books. 1979.

Handout #6 - My Declarations of Self-Esteem

MY DECLARATIONS OF SELF-ESTEEM (Use as Responsive Reading)

Leader: I am me.

Group: In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. There are persons who have some parts like me. Therefore, everything that comes out of me is authentically mine because I alone chose it.

Leader: I own everything about me--my body, including everything it does; my mind, including all its thoughts and ideas; my eyes, including the images of all they behold; my feelings, whatever they may be--anger, joy, frustration, love, disappointment, excitement; my mouth, and all the words that come out of it-- polite, sweet or rough, correct or incorrect; my voice, loud or soft; and all my actions whether they be to others or to myself.

Group: I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears.

Leader: I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.

Group: Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By doing so I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts. I can then make it possible for all of me to work in my best interests.

Leader: I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know. But as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for the solutions to the puzzles and for ways to find out more about me.

Group: However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is me. This is authentic and represents where I am at that moment in time.

Leader: When I review later how I looked and sounded, what I said and did, and how I thought and felt, some parts may turn out to be unfitting. I can discard that which is unfitting, and keep that which proved fitting, and invent something new for that which I discarded.

Group: I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside me.

Leader: I own me, and therefore I can engineer me.

All: I am me and I am okay.

(Adapted for group teaching from Peoplemaking by Virginia Satir)

Homework Assignments

Homework Instructions

I. TWO IDEAL DAYS

1. Project yourself into the future, any time from tomorrow to several years from now, and imagine two days that would be ideal for you. Imagine 48 hours of what for you would be the best possible use of that period of time. You can fantasize whatever you want; the only limit is the time limit of 48 hours.

2. Describe your perfect, ideal two days. Go into as much detail as you can picture in your fantasy.

3. You will be asked to share your story with the class.

II. WHAT MAKES YOU SO APPRECIATED IS THE WAY YOU APPRECIATE OTHERS! (Handout #4)

1. Make one copy of this handout for each student. Ask students to complete this activity for the next class.

III. PARENT CHILD ACTIVITY FOR BUILDING SELF-RELIANCE (Handout #5)

1. Make one copy of this handout for each child. Ask them to complete it with a parent.

Letter to Parents

Being Your Best

Dear Parent:

Self-improvement is something each individual is capable of. There are many degrees of self-improvement. Some people see self-improvement as "getting a haircut" while for others it may be learning to play a guitar. Your youngster has been involved in a series of activities which have helped to identify their own personality traits; learn to accept and use compliments and criticism positively and develop a realistic plan for their own personal growth and development. Basically, they are learning to value themselves and gain the confidence to aim for their potential.

When children arrive in the world they are totally dependent upon others for their care and nurturing. Whey they reach toddlerhood, they discover themselves as separate individuals with their own minds and actions. At adolescence, the need for independence and separation from the family reaches a peak period. This is why parents sometimes feel it is difficult to live with toddlers and adolescents. It is helpful for parents to realize that these developmental stages are what being human is all about and that these youngsters are in their own struggle for "self." Helping family members through these stages as well as through all the stages is helping them become their "best selves."

Self-reliance is closely related to self-improvement. It is the belief that one can handle things and be successful in desired efforts. It involves looking within to determine one's talents and limitations and looking outside of self to sources for help in self-improvement efforts.

One of the greatest gifts any parent can give their children is the gift of helping them become self-reliant. Children will move toward self-reliance as they become self-confident. Children gain self-confidence by successes with responsibilities that they can handle at their age level. Only through the development of a "responsible self" do they learn the joy and privilege and human dignity of being their own person and their best self.

It is the basic responsibility of parents to help youngsters make the transition from dependency to self-reliance. It involves letting youngsters learn from their mistakes; however, this does not mean "setting a child up for failure." Let the child handle those things which are within his capabilities. Give them love, encouragement, and recognition for their accomplishments. Help them gain the awareness they need for clarifying their goals and identifying their resources. Try to evaluate parental actions in terms of helping the child reach a mature, responsible, productive and rewarding adulthood.

Sincerely,

University of Florida County Extension Faculty

References

Anthony, R. (1979). The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence. New York: Berkley Books.

Couch, M., Flynn, J., Gross, P., and Thibodeaux, L. (N.D.) Accepting yourself. In It's Up To Me. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas: Texas Agricultural Extension Service. (p. 20-37).

Couch, M., Flynn, J., Gross, P., and Thibodeaux, L., (N.D.) Being your self, your best self. In It's Up To Me. Texas A&M Univsity, College Station, Texas: Texas Agricultural Extension Service. (p. 172-189).

"I've Gotta Be Me." 4-H School Enrichment Project. (N.D.). College Station, Texas: Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

McCandless, B.R. (1967). Children: Behavior and Development. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Myers-Wells, J.A., Hinkley, K.R., and Reid, W.H. (1984). Encouraging Positive Self-Concepts in Children. West Lafayette, Indiana: Indiana Cooperative Extension Service.

Papilia, D.E., and Olds, S.W. (1982). A Child's World: Infancy Through Adolescence. New York: McGraw Hill.

Satir, V. (1972). Peoplemaking. Palo Alto, California: Science and Behavior Books.

Developing Skills for Youthful Leaders

Developing Skills for Youthful Leaders is a six part curriculum designed for volunteers who work with young people. It is designed to enable teachers to apply a systematic approach to training youth for leadership roles in schools and neighborhoods. Each module includes training materials and activities that can be used for leadership education for students and youth groups. Partial funding for the development of these modules was provided by The Junior Woman's Club of Milton, Florida.

Modules:

Module I - You Can Be A Leader

Module II - Knowing and Accepting Yourself

Module III - Being Your Best

Module IV - Communicating With Others

Module V - Listening Skills to Improve Communication

Module VI - Making a Decision

Developed by:

Elizabeth B. Bolton, Professor

Community Development

University of Florida

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Gainesville, FL 32611-0310

Assistance provided by:

John R. Rutledge, Former Associate Professor

4-H Youth Specialist

University of Florida

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Gainesville, FL 32611-0520

Linda Bowman and Linda Barber

Santa Rosa County Cooperative Extension

Milton, FL 32570-8944

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS9090, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original print publication date 1993. Revised and published on EDIS March 2006. Reviewed July 2009 and March 2013. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Elizabeth B. Bolton, Professor, Community Development, John R. Rutledge, Former Associate Professor, 4 H- Youth Specialist, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611-0310, Linda Bowman, Family Consumer Sciences Agent and Linda Barber, Former 4-H Agent, Santa Rosa County Cooperative Extension Service, Milton, FL.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.