An important part of well-being is helping students embrace the power of their authentic voice. In my role, it could involve patiently listening to students express their feelings on a difficult topic, offering up words of encouragement to help them better connect with their feelings, or facilitating a discussion with peers who may be struggling to move past a situation. Whatever the scenario may be, helping students connect with their authentic voice so they can express their thoughts and feelings is critical for growth and wellness.
When we consider using our authentic voice to express ourselves, the concern about saying the wrong thing or not being able to find the right words starts to fade away. Shifting the focus from “what will they think” to “this is what I think” releases the burden of filtering our thoughts and feelings before we even have a chance to express them. I share with students that some days their authentic voice may be struggling and vulnerable, while other days it may be sure and confident. Same voice, different days, and that’s completely normal and okay.
When I hear a statement from someone who is embracing his/her authentic voice, it gives me the unspoken permission to do the same. It reminds me to look for the message or lesson in feeling uncomfortable, to not follow in someone else’s footsteps if that means forsaking my own, and to accept that some days are just better than others. As parents and/or educators, I’d like to encourage you to explore your own authentic voice and for you to encourage your children and/or students to do the same. When we approach conversations with an authentic voice, we can rest assured that although the words we use may not always come out right, the meaning behind the words will always represent our truth.
Coordinator of Student, Family & Community Services