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Feel good about your future

Stories about people who have overcome incredible odds to make a difference or achieve a dream are everywhere. It’s important to have goals and dreams, but what do you do when things get hard? It’s important to model a positive attitude, seek solutions to problems, and keep moving toward your goal. Studies show when people envision themselves reaching their goals, they’re more likely to make them happen.


Research shows that young people who are optimistic about the future have better relationships with their parents, increased self-esteem, and decreased emotional or behavioral problems, such as depression, early sexual activity, and violence.

About 72 percent of young people, ages 11–18, are optimistic about their personal future, according to Search Institute surveys. Seven percent of the kids we surveyed reported that they rarely feel good about their future. Since young people are our future adults, it’s important to help them realize the positive aspects of their lives now and in the years to come.


Having a sense of hope is one of the most important human traits to embrace. Everyone faces ups and downs in life. But it’s important to teach young people that a bad day, failed test, break-up, or loss of a loved one doesn’t mean the future is without hope.

When bad things happen or mistakes occur, help young people focus on solutions or positive aspects of the situation instead of problems.


In your home and family: Clip articles from newspapers or magazines of people doing hopeful things. Post them so the entire family sees them. Or watch videos, listen to podcasts, or read inspiring posts together.

In your neighborhood and community: If you have concerns about your neighborhood, talk to neighbors about them. Gather a group to address these concerns and create a better future for everyone who lives nearby. Young people who live in a safe, clean, friendly neighborhood are more likely to feel positive about their future.

In your school or youth program: React positively when young people tell you their dreams—no matter how far-fetched or unreachable they may seem. Together, figure out a plan to make their dreams come true.

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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