The giving of an ability or permission
"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." -Maria Robinson
"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person." -Mother Teresa
"What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality." -Plutarch
How to Teach Children About Empowerment
Empowerment is an important character trait that can be highlighted on an inward and outward basis. With children, practicing empowerment can lead to a greater sense of inner self-respect and outward kindness toward others. Think of all the actions we do each day that can foster empowerment in ourselves and those around us. From sharing with others to practicing positive thinking, being empowered and empowering others to be the best they can be has the power to change how we look at the world each day.
Elementary Age Youth
Children in elementary school learn about empowerment every day through observing others and practicing oneself. Youth at this age are learning skills rooted in empowerment that they will develop and carry on for a lifetime. Adults can utilize a variety of activities to help children to learn what empowerment means in their lives:
During mealtime or family dinner, encourage children to share the best part of their day. This is a great opportunity to talk about their accomplishments, adventures, and activities. Such positive thinking empowers youth to look at their day in a positive light, and sharing their experiences with families, can help with self-confidence. Adults are encouraged to take part in sharing the best part of their day as well. This fosters listening skills as well as an opportunity to learn from one another.
Invite youth to participate in a clothing drive or to clean out their closet with items that are too small or those that aren't worn anymore. Such items can be passed down to a younger sibling, given to a local shelter or school, or donated to any other organization that accepts gently used clothing. This helps youth to serve others, which empowers him or herself to understand the importance of helping others.
Middle School Youth
Youth in middle school are learning what being empowered and not feeling empowered are like on any given day. To help middle school youth learn about empowerment, the following two activities can be utilized:
Middle school students can face bullies in different forms and situations. Talk with children about what bullying is, how to not be a bully, and how to stand up to bullies through positive strategies. Feeling accepted by others leads to a feeling of empowerment, and those who say and do things to disrupt another's day can challenge this feeling. It is empowering to know what to do, when to ask an adult for help, and how to diffuse a bully in different situations.
Trying New Activities
During middle school, students have the opportunity to try new activities, many of which are in the arts and athletics. Encouraging youth to try new activities can help middle school youth to feel empowered to take on new challenges in many stages of life. As no one is born an expert in any field or activity, encouraging youth to try new things helps him or her to know about the hours of training that takes place and the feeling of succeeding. Later in the season, adults can encourage youth to mentor a younger participant or to referee a younger division to build on those skill sets and to empower others at the same time.
High School and Beyond
High school is a time when being empowered can help one to decide long term plans after graduation. To make oneself ready to succeed in high school and beyond, high school students can take part empowering themselves and others. The following activities can be helpful with high school age youth to learn about being empowerment:
Saving up for a Financial Goal
Many high school age youth have financial goals such as saving for college, a car, travel, and many more. Encouraging youth to develop a budget and to stick to it, can help prepare them for a lifetime of feeling empowered. Through setting a goal and sticking to it to creating strategies to raise funds, high school youth can learn life lessons about what it takes to achieve a large goal. Give youth an example of when you have saved up for a large goal or purchase, and help him to know how you felt empowered during and after achieving your goal.
Mentoring Younger Youth
In working with high school youth, fostering a sense of purpose through serving others can lead to feeling empowerment as a community member. For example, many elementary schools welcome student readers and local libraries feature guest readers for fall reading programs. Check your local library for opportunities for older youth to mentor younger youth. Both parties can feel a sense of being empowered through learning and helping others.
Books to share with children:
The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand up for Others by Bob Somson
Helping out and Staying Safe by Pamela Espeland
I can handle it! 50 Confidence-Building Stories to Empower Your Child by Susan Jeffers
Cinderella's Magical Wheelchair by Jewel Kats
Feel Confident! by Cheri J. Meiners
Seven key benefits of an empowered workplace
Organizations can expect obvious results when they implement an empowered environment. However, many people fail to realize the impact of the hidden effects of the empowerment process.
These hidden benefits can have a more dramatic impact on profitability than a leader might imagine. When one considers the issue of the effective use of resources, the hidden impact of empowerment clearly demonstrates how leaders can effectively marshal the resources they are responsible for.
Many traditional managers fail to understand and comprehend how empowerment can impact their bottom line, as there are a number of hidden costs associated with restricting employee abilities and capabilities. Most are focused on their power and authority and concentrate on ways to maintain their personal power base.
Leaders, on the other hand, understand that tapping into the human potential of their employees unleashes a tremendous source of power, information and expertise that the organization can ultimately benefit from.
Most leaders are unaware of the hidden or intangible benefits associated with empowerment. However, the thoughtful leader who takes the time to consider the costs of the traditional approach will find them staggering, which is often sufficient to motivate them to move the empowerment process along as quickly as possible.
Bednarz, T. (2013). Seven Key Benefits of an Empowered Workplace. Examiner.