Friday, June 27, 2008

Sue Scheff: What is the Strengths Movement?

At its core, the Strengths Movement is a social movement intended to change how we view ourselves, our children and our world. We have all been conditioned to see weaknesses and mine for deficits. This movement seeks to change that perspective and then apply the positive strengths perspective to our families and our schools.

There is no better place to begin this movement than in our families and the schools.

A vast collection of committed individuals does not constitute a movement. A movement must have followers and actions. Movements usually spring up in response to a threat.

What is the threat?

Our schools are failing to prepare children to thrive in the 21st century. There are many good ideas about how to change that. This movement seeks to unite all those ideas and wrap them in one force field: discovery, development and use of strengths. What is a strength? It is what energizes you, differentiates you, make you feel useful and whole. Strengths combined with direction create a chain of positive and right actions.

Who has a stake in this movement?

Businesses--whose productivity depends upon the talent of the next generation.

Parents and educators, preschool through university--who share responsibility for finding the strengths in the next generation.

Students-- who have the biggest stake. After all, they are their strengths and it is their future.