“How Much Time?”
I didn’t believe it when she told me.
We were at an event for counselors where a professor was sharing research findings on studies about at-risk kids. They were looking at factors that consistently showed up in kids that grew up in socioeconomically disadvantaged situations and did not end up in jail or worse. Effectively, she was trying to find what most helped kids get out of bad life situations over time.
Her study, and others like it, show that one of the biggest differences in kids that are able to make it out of tough situations is simply having access to a competent and emotionally available adult for about two weeks. Essentially, what we find over and over and over, is that the biggest factor for at risk kids is access to adults who help them feel heard, seen, and valued.
We all have different challenges, frustrations, and set backs in life. They aren’t handed out evenly, and often come at us unexpectedly and without any cause on our part. Like the kids this professor studied, we all risk being dragged down by our circumstances, held back by events outside of our control, or simply starting a race miles behind those we are competing against.
And, while we all face different challenges, I can’t help but think about how many of life’s hurdles we can help others overcome not by giving them advice, solving their problem, or strategizing solutions, but by simply helping them feel seen, heard, and valued as a person.
Whether it’s having a cup of coffee, a quick phone call, or even a brief conversation with someone you love, we often overlook how important those moments might be to them, and to us.
If two weeks can change a life, imagine how impactful a few minutes of your time might be for someone you love. Imagine how impactful you’ve already been.