For example, a family member that I want to support has the following positive attributes and supports:
- Gregarious, optimistic attitude
- Lots of loving family members and friends
- A good number of interests and great curiosity
- Socially interested
So as I think about this, I recognize that one of the best ways to support this individual is through the social path.
As educators and parents we want the best for all the people we serve, we want to do what is right for them. As we think about this, it's important to start with the positives with questions such as the following:
- What are his/her positive attributes, strengths, and characteristics?
- Where is she/he happiest, most productive, engaged, and empowered?
- What do we currently do that positively supports this individual?
And once we've determined the positive parts of the profile and situation, we can then think of the needs.
- What's holding this individual back?
- What does he/she need to do better?
- What challenges could undermine his/her success, happiness, forward movement?
As I think of another individual I know, I find myself wanting to try out this strategy. The individual's strengths include the following:
- Lots of loving family members
- Physical strength, artistic interests/strengths, a desire to do well for self and others
This individual's struggles include the following:
- Time, money, and access to steady supports
- Steady confidence and perseverance in light of the challenges that exist
So remains the effort of how to we work towards those steady supports which will result in the needed steady confidence and perseverance. In this situation, I can see how good family support, social services and counseling can help to attain those steady supports.
As I think more about this strengths based model, I wonder how I can use it more with self, family members, and students. Essentially using a model of where are the strengths and how we can maximize those strengths to support areas of challenge.
I know this is probably not new to anyone, but as I think of it, it's a great way to face issues of individual need and promise in any venue. One I want to explore more, and one that probably has been documented under other names in multiple disciplines.