We cannot be compassionate all the time!Set some expectations…

Hello readers,

Sometimes we hear compassion, strength-based therapy, nice,  and all the children and youth need is an adult to care for them. While this is all true, there is a healthy balance between being compassionate and teaching the young person about social responsibility.

Many organizations, schools, and current models are aiming towards this idea: “We cannot consequence or punish the young person, we need to show them compassion!”

I am noticing that this week, many of the young people are seeing that I am one of those youth workers that will not downplay their actions; for example, bullying, aggression, and harassment. When do we stop and practice developmentally appropriate expectations for the young person instead of always providing a rationale for the young person’s actions.

Replacement: Why do not we start teaching empathy? Why are we not teaching our young people more choice theory, and why don’t we embrace the natural consequences that a young person should experience.

I find that we are always trying our best to prevent the mistakes that we believe that our young person will make. So, when there is a mistake that it is made, we get into analyzing their actions after the 4th or 5th time.

But Joe is a good kid…..yes, Joe is a very good kid, but right now he is lagging certain skills.”

This is why millennials come out of the education system and expect from their future relationships or employers that continuous acts of violence or lack of social and life skills will just be forgotten. They do not receive proper feedback, explanations, or mentoring when they so badly need it in order to develop cognitively. 

So, going back to this week: I realized I am coming into this stage in my career that I am challenging other educators and myself to not be afraid of challenging a youth’s mindset. I am a compassionate human being; however, there is a time and moment that a young person does not only need your compassion, they need your words and genuine self.

Thank you for reading as always 🙂



2 thoughts on “We cannot be compassionate all the time!Set some expectations…

  1. Wonderful read Marleigh! As always. I completely agree with the ideas you bring forth. It is indeed a struggle as an educator to sometimes be criticized for encouraging an environment of Critical Thinkers that can occasionally put students in positions that they may be slightly uncomfortable in, in the sense that they do no have an specific answer or know immediately what is “right” or “wrong.” Isn’t that what learning is all about? Pushing limits (within reason) and sometimes delving into unfamiliar or slightly uncomfortable territory? Change is impossible without such actions, in my books.

    A mentor of mine many years ago once told me if you’re uncomfortable or challenged, then you are learning. This is a good thing! It is quite frustrating to be on the front lines in a society that encourages constant nurturing and complacency within students’ comfort levels. Although there are many occasions that require this, if we are indeed tasked with the quest as educators, to spark change within young minds and to motivate future leaders, it is this compliant, comfort zone nurturing behaviour that we need to start limiting within our practice. Some more food for thought.


    1. Well that is the thing right…comfort levels and the lack of not meeting higher standards. I really liked your line about “comfort zone nurturing behaviour that we need to start limiting within our practice.”

      I’ll haveto send you a video on growth mindset. it really changed the way I see young people.

      Thank you Sarah for your comment 🙂


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