During the 2016-17 school year, I had the privilege to visit many of your child’s schools and introduce them to my “13 Messages from Milo” Professional Mentoring Program. The Summit County Alcohol Drug and Mental Health (ADM) Board provided funding to visit 20 schools within Summit County. The school’s staff, parents and students were all a part of these presentations.
Although the Heroin epidemic across Northeast Ohio brought me into the schools, it is important to consistently build up students and “speak life” to them utilizing positive character traits. I do this by reinforcing the messages outlined throughout the “13 Messages from Milo” Professional Mentoring Program. These include:
- Love One Another
- Be Curious
- Be Genuine
- Work Together
- Be Creative
- Be Positive
- Use your talents
It is my belief, if we spend more time on the “13 Messages from Milo” program, we will spend less time posting inappropriate things on social media, saying hurtful and demeaning things to others and definitely spend MORE time living compassionate and caring lives. After spending the last 15 years working with students with developmental disabilities, cancer, thoughts of suicide, self-harm and drug abuse, I have learned that the only way we become good at something is to practice. We do not become musicians without practicing our instruments, mathematicians without practicing math and quality athletes without working hard practicing our sport. How can we become successful members of society if we fail to practice how to behave, get along with others and develop critical thinking skills?
I encourage you to talk to your children about the drug issues in our communities because I assure you, NO ONE, is exempt. The Summit County coroner’s office was forced to acquire additional storage space to do their job because they are out of room. First responders are struggling to get rescue squads to individuals because of the overwhelming amount of overdose emergencies. THIS AFFECTS US ALL. The drug Narcan, which is used to help someone recover from an overdose, costs approximately $75 per dose and it can take up to 9 of these doses to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose. Our tax dollars pay for this.
I encourage you to role-play with your children. Ask them what they do if they are faced with someone who offers them drugs? How do they respond? What action do they take? Middle school and High school students tell me weekly that they want to fit in with their friends and want to be the “cool” kid. A simple solution for your child is to tell them to say, “My coach drug tests me” or “My parents or teacher drug tests me”. The only sure way we will never become addicted to a drug is to NEVER TRY IT.
Please always know where your children are going. Who do they hang out with? My wife and I have 5 children ages 10, 14, 18, 23 and 26. Our 10 year old comes home from gymnastics one day and says, “I want to go to Parkers house”. The first questions we ask are:
- Whom does Parker live with? Mom and or Dad?
- What type of work does the family do? This helps you understand when adult leadership is home. If mom or dad are working and on what shift. Depending on the time, there may be little or no supervision at home when the kids want to play.
- “Who else lives with Parker”? I found out that Grandma lives with Parker. That is great, but why? Is it because the family is super compassionate? I learned that Grandma has Cancer. I appreciate the family wanting to take care of grandma; however, grandma is on 23 different medications. Warning flags.
Know what and who your child will be exposed to and keep asking questions.
Randomly ask your child for their phone. If there is any hesitation, there is a very good chance they may be hiding something. There is a defined line between being a parent and a friend. I encourage you to play the needed role when the time comes.
I have had the opportunity to work with countless inmates over the years in local and state prisons. When I show an inmate the “13 Messages from Milo”, they make it clear that most if not all of the messages were never prominent in their life while growing up. I encourage you to spend a week on each message. “Be Positive” for an entire week. Ask your child what that means to them. Share with them what it means to you. Practice being positive and look for opportunities where people are not being positive. Talk about it and work together through the concerns. Then move on to my next message. When you have completed the 13 weeks, start over and do it again. Remember, practice makes perfect!
I invite you to visit christophermilo.com and encourage you to get your copy of my book titled, “It’s Not About Me”. I share many life lessons that schools, families and businesses find most helpful.