Jeff Yalden Inspired by Conversation with Teens
Recently, I visited Sequim High School in Washington State. Sequim is a beautiful place along the Dungeness River near the Olympic Mountains – and whenever I am in a spot like this, I feel grateful for the opportunity to take it all in.
The Sequim school community was amazing.
One of the things I truly love about my full-day school programs is that I get to meet and really get to know the students. They are so open when we talk, and that’s inspiring. Because I have more time, I learn more about them – what they think, how they feel – and I am able to get an understanding of their emotions by engaging with them. By listening.
The students are enthusiastic, and I could tell that they had so many questions they didn’t seem to know how to ask – but once you gain their trust (and their respect), they are eager to talk. What happens next is absolutely amazing…
During one conversation in this VIDEO, a young lady asked me a great question: “What makes you valuable?”
I thought about it and told her that what makes me valuable is that I’ve been able to take my life experiences and choose to be a victor through my circumstances instead of a victim. It hasn’t been easy – but in getting to know myself, it’s an honor to share what I have learned in order to plant seeds of wisdom, hope and knowledge in our youth.
Her next question was incredibly thought-provoking, deep and intense: “If you lost all of what makes you valuable, would you still be valuable?”
What really makes us valuable? It’s different for everyone, but what hit me with this question is that I don’t need my life’s experiences or even my career as a youth and mental health speaker to feel valuable. I get it, but I don’t think I always understood that.
It’s my passion to inspire our school communities, talking about mental health and life and helping to make sense of it all for young people and families – but I don’t need the applause to feel valuable or worthy. What makes me valuable is how I feel about who I am – my heart – being a kind, respectful man of influence and dignity. I was amazed by this exchange and could go on and on about it and what it meant to me as well as to the young people involved.
It was remarkable getting to know these teens and speaking heart-to-heart with them. I was inspired.
I hope you enjoy this video and share it.
The next time you engage in conversation with teens, remember this: Teens don’t care about titles, research or statistics. They care about the answers to two questions…
- Do you care about me?
- Can I trust you?
If you have a teen in your life, be sure to give them time. Be patient. Don’t judge. Speak to them and not at them. When you do that, I promise you that you’ll have an amazing conversation that will inspire you as much as you might inspire them.
Be the trusted adult.
Be a significant influence in the life of a child and you’ll be making a difference in the world.
Who is Jeff Yalden?
Jeff Yalden is highly regarded as one of the top teen mental health and suicide prevention experts in the world. He works with teens and adults, school communities and mental health professionals. He’s a four-time bestselling author, radio show host, podcast host, online course creator, non-profit foundation founder, and advocate for mental health.
Teen Suicide Prevention Online Course for Schools and Communities: CLICK HERE
For more information about Jeff Yalden, CLICK HERE.
BUY Jeff’s new book, Teen Suicide: The “WHY” behind America’s Suicide Epidemic.
Check out Jeff’s Facebook page HERE.