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Feel control over your own destiny

Having personal power means understanding and accepting the things we can and can’t control. You can find a new job, work out a conflict with your boss, or move to a whole new city if you want to. Young people don’t always have all the choices adults do. However, when kids feel empowered, they feel more confident to make the best choices of the ones they do have. Like getting good grades, participating in activities they enjoy, and taking action to find appropriate solutions to problems.


Research shows that young people are more likely to grow up healthy if they feel a sense of control over the things that happen to them. A sense of personal power gives young people the confidence to embrace positive attitudes and behaviors, and walk away from risky situations and behaviors.

About 42 percent of young people, ages 11–18, feel that they have control over things that happen to them, according to Search Institute surveys. Only 25% percent of the kids we surveyed reported feeling in control of their lives. Which means, we have some work to do as Asset Builders. Luckily, we can provide opportunities for young people to make their own decisions and feel more empowered.


Young people who have a strong sense of their own power believe that when good things happen to them, they had some control over the outcome.

If things go wrong, help them focus on the positive steps they can take to remedy the situation. Help them see how they can make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.


In your home and family: Teach your child practical skills, such as how to change a tire, cook a meal, sew on a button, wax skis….Well-prepared young people are more likely to feel a sense of personal power.

In your neighborhood and community: Support young people’s efforts to be industrious. For example, buy lemonade from their lemonade stand, read their homemade newspaper, and attend a play they put on in their garage (or go to one of the wonderful plays Teton High puts on every semester and talk to the kids after).

In your school or youth program: Challenge the young people in your class or program to come up with a creative way to raise money for an underprivileged family or a charity in your area (check out the Community Foundation of Teton Valley for a list of nonprofits). Then, put the plan into action. Serving others helps young people realize they can make a difference in the world, which gives them an enormous sense of personal power.

You Can Make a Difference for Kids!

Adapted from Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; http://www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

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