Facing Difficult Demands

As youth get into different roles, they encounter demands, requirements, and obligations; they understand that their actions in response to these demands will impact self, peers, or others.

Youth may find themselves needing to solve new and unexpected challenges they hadn’t anticipated when accepting responsibility for a role. Responsibility roles may involve working with, teaching, or leading other people—peers, younger peers, or people in the community—so they require youth to develop and exercise the compassion, resolve, and interpersonal skills to do so effectively. For example, youth at Wyman cook monthly meals for family members of cancer patients who are undergoing treatment at a local facility. This project involves planning, preparing, serving, and storing food for large groups as well as considering the unique needs of participating families.

Many of the responsibilities in youth’s roles involve obligations to the group or to other people and entail issues of integrity, trust, and safety. To have significant responsibility means that not meeting the requirements and obligations of roles will adversely affect others. Youth realize others are counting on them as they carry out the responsibilities of their roles. Responsibility gets honed and tested when youth are weary or overwhelmed or are presented with competing interests and desires.

Further Reading

Join the Discussion

Facing difficulties can bring out the best, and the worst, in people. How does your program control for this mercurial situation while allowing room for student growth?