Monday, February 27, 2012

Plainly Speaking


Robert Looks Twice in a screen shot from ABC's 20/20
Periodically we adults just need to remind ourselves that we should take young people more seriously.  After all--except for maybe the Dalai Lama --all dreamers and demons were once teenagers.  As a clinician I am reminded of this on a nearly daily basis since a lack of respect or a half-listening ear will lead to a shut down in communication, an overlooked clue, or a shrug and a missed diagnosis and a resulting cynical and untreated patient or person.

So I was intrigued by the recent story about the Lakota Sioux high school students who have made a short compelling video called More Than That to talk about who they are in all of their dimensions in response to an ABC News segment called Children of the Plains hosted by Diane Sawyer of 20/20 in which she highlights their economically impacted community and some of the negative consequences.

First watch the 20/20 video at this link.  If you watch just under three minutes you will get an idea of the majesty of Robert Looks Twice, a twelve year old who aspires to the presidency. Of the United States that is.  We see Ms Sawyer's instinctive negative reaction to his dreams and then her quick recovery but if you ask me the message was quickly sent loud and clear. Not only to Robert on his crowded and cold bunk bed, but to everyone who may have watched Children of the Plains.

So BRAVO to the video teachers and others at the high school in Pine Ridge South Dakota who mentored the students through the creation of More Than That a two minute uplifting and inspiring production of their own response which you can watch here.

The power of YouTube and video for kids to tell their stories is once again available to us.  The strength of this medium reminds me of the campaign called "It Gets Better" launched after the suicide of the Rutgers student, Tyler Clemente whose roommate is now on trial for hate-related crimes.

We are reminded of the ways in which media can pull at our heart strings and influence our thinking.  An important caveat during this relentless political campaign season. 
image from 5thworld.com (via Googleimages)