It’s an incredible world that we live in. We are more advanced scientifically and technologically than at any time in human history. We can travel to the farthest reaches of the globe quickly and comfortably. In recent years scientists and researchers have discovered cures for diseases once deemed untreatable. We are a connected world. Information and entertainment are at our finger tips and communication with anyone, anywhere at any time has never been easier. Opportunity abounds – education, jobs, causes and adventure. It seems that if we want it, we can have it. On the surface all is well in our world. There’s always room for growth and improvement but generally, life is good. So it seems…
In spite of our relative prosperity, all of the advancements we’ve made, and the opportunities that abound, far too many of our young people are being swallowed up by the darkness of life. The struggles are incredibly real – third graders who are crippled with anxiety; fourth graders bearing the burden of holding the family together; fifth graders making choices about substance use and sexual activity. Bullying and school violence, increased substance abuse, depression and suicide – all are present realities for our young people. Consider the current opioid crisis alone. If current trends continue over the next 10 years, there will be a 186% increase in deaths. In surveys of adolescents receiving treatment for substance abuse, more than 70%
of them had a history of trauma exposure. Suicides in children ages 10-14 doubled between 2007 and 2014 and it is reported that one child under the age of 13 is committing suicide every 5 days. Studies also show us that suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents age 10-18.
What has happened to us? How is it that we have arrived at such a place? Our kids are having the innocence and wonder of childhood ripped away from them. It is difficult to think about.
Life is hard – a series of choices that cannot be divorced from their consequences. But just because life is hard, that does not mean that it cannot be good. In fact, the difficulty of life is potentially the perfect seed bed for life that is great – fulfilling and fruitful. But how do we leverage life-struggle and help the next generation find life to the full? Is that possible? Is there hope for these children that have been exposed to so much that is dark and difficult? Can the trauma of adverse childhood experiences be mitigated and overcome?
We believe that it can.
The Rewriting Futures platform from the Gene Duffy Foundation exists to provide education, strategy, tools and inspiration intended to help people in their search for a life that is productive and full of meaning and fulfillment. Within the Rewriting Futures initiative exists the Discovery Series for students and the My Life My Legacy tool.
The Rewriting FuturesDiscovery Series is intended to provide opportunities for early intervention, awareness, and prevention through the building of strong relationships with educators and other influencers, as well as amongst peers. The tool explores key concepts and contexts in an effort to help young people understand just how achievable their dreams really are and what things exist that can potentially derail those dreams.
The journey combines writing and basic critical thinking with small group discussion. Students embark on the journey of discovery as both individuals and valuable members of a discovery group. Over the course of several weeks, students will write about and discuss life at home, difficulties and overcoming, dreams and roadblocks, influences and the power of choice – each discussion a building block in a strong foundation upon which they can build a life full of hope, purpose, fulfillment and happiness.
It is critical that we embrace the opportunity and responsibility in front of us. With all of the incredible advancements we have made as a society comes greater dangers and difficulties than we have ever faced before. Our kids can succeed, and they will if we are willing to undertake the joyful task of coming alongside of them as they navigate life’s deepest waters.
It has been said that every child is one caring adult away from being a success story. One caring adult… will that be you?