TED Conversations

Morgan Rich

Life Coach, My Family

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How can we help kids and teenagers develop the deep belief in self they need to feel worthy, to be motivated, to feel confident?

The concept of those who feel a sense of love and belonging are those who FEEL WORTHY of love and belonging is awesome. In the same way, teenagers saying they want to live their passion, know who they are, and live the life they were born to live, is a great idea.

The challenge is that these things are easy to say, but hard to do. I'm curious how we help our young people gain the strength and capability to actually feel worthy, discover their Real You, feel confident, and know who they are.

Yes, Grit is important. How do we learn it? I'm interested in answers beyond, you just commit to it, or just do it, or try it out. Sure, but not the shy kid who lacks confidence or the bully who is insecure beneath the bravado or the lonely kid who feels alone and broken.

If these things were easy, we'd be doing them, but we struggle. How can we help our young people feel worthy, be gritty, see the good and positive things?


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    Jul 20 2013: As a teenager, I want to kindly thank you for the work you've been doing Rich.

    We have got a hard time struggling with both interpersonal and intrapersonal issues to define who we are, how we fit into this world and which is the right way to do. Being a teenager sucks, excuse me for my wording, because nothing is certain yet, and we are too young for half of the things we want to do while being too old for the other half.

    I am a lucky one I love myself a whole lot. But there are many kids out there who don't and that mostly results from the so-called society's standards. Please take a look at the link.


    So yea most of the fear comes from how people would perceive us. And sometimes it just seems like we are not good enough. And I am not speaking for myself but for many teenagers out there.

    I have a friend who falls into that category. He is a guy with almost everything: plays for a basketball team, drives a BMW, has his own apartment, tall height with 6 packs and quite good sense of humour. The reason he doesn't feel good in himself is unbelievably stupid you know. Just because the good-looking popular girls are not interested in him.

    I really want to help with this problem. But look, as an insider, I don't even know the way out. But for sure that you gotta start by listening, and get to be a friend. But if people can judge each other less, that would be very helpful.
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      Jul 21 2013: You are welcome. And it's Morgan - I'm one of those 2 first name people.

      What happened in your post? There is all that space? Can you change it somehow? Thanks.
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      Jul 23 2013: Ugh. You can't win. It drives me nuts how mean some teenagers are. I know it all comes from insecurity, but grrrrr.

      Listening is so, so important. It's amazing that you can see this in your friend. I'll bet he appreciates it even if he doesn't show it. Might be interesting to ask him about it. "Help me understand why it seems like you have everything, yet you seem to struggle with confidence?"
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      Jul 23 2013: Your link reminds me of a letter from a student who went to Columbine high school. He has some incredible insights about how dreams of teens are crushed. Seems to me he nails it.

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        Jul 23 2013: It is the same case for our education system here in Vietnam. I couldn't believe how it is so stupid that the Pedagogical University is one of the easiest university to get in. So basically, the requirement for entrance is so low that all those weak students who have been rejected by other universities could then re-apply here and get accepted.

        We need good people who can bring out the good in our next generation. Most teachers now fail to do it. Firstly, they do not have a passion for their job. Secondly, high school pedagogy requires hard work but is not valued that much. It is true, being a professor in a universities sounds more worthy than teaching adolescent in secondary schools. And in Vietnam, a teacher cannot even make a living out of his/her basic salary.

        But that is the education system that would take generations to change. I remember how I wanted to change it by becoming a politician, but to be honest until now I haven't figured out how yet.
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          Jul 23 2013: Oh, that sounds promising. Do you have an idea how to do it now? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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        Jul 29 2013: Nope I still haven't figure out how yet. How about you? Have you ever wanted to change the education system?
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          Jul 30 2013: Yes. Since forever.

          I think there is an important question to ask yourself, which is do you change it from inside or from outside. Good people are trying to do both.

          I chose the from the outside route, so I started working with teenagers in alternative kinds of settings and helping them wake up and believe in the aliveness they feel inside.

          My wife works at a school that uses the Reggio Emiila method. It's a beautiful child centered approach to educating kids.

          We are both pissed off about what's happening to kids these days and have found different approaches to do something about it. What is your way?
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        Jul 31 2013: Thoughtful and practical, Morgan. I too have worked on this, and do, from inside and outside.

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