40 Assets for Youth – Internal Assets

In the previous two blogs, I have been discussing the 40 Developmental Assets for Youth from the Search Institute (www.search-institute.org).  The last blog we discussed the External Assets, and in this writing, I will discuss the Internal Assets.

The first of the Internal Assets include Commitment to learning.  Commitment examines the internal intellectual curiosity and the skills to gain new knowledge that is essential for school and career success.  It looks at how connected kids are to the school, how motivated they are to achieve as well as their work ethic.  This is super important and if lacking in the early years, becomes very evident in late middle-school, and high school.  Once that motivation is absent, all other forms of motivation fall on deaf ears it seems.

The second broad category under Internal Assets is Positive Values.  These are the “internal compasses” that keep young people on course.  Stephen Covey speaks to them in his landmark book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Although there are many values in our world today, these are fundamental values that I believe we can all agree.  They include caring, equality and social justice, integrity, honesty, responsibility, and restraint.  Development of these in our youth from early on creates caring adults that have the desire to succeed and to help others.

The third is Social Competencies.  These look at the personal and interpersonal skills youth need to negotiate the variety of relationships and choices that they will make throughout their life.  They lay the foundation for responsible decisions in the future when parents and other adults are not around to help them.  They include planning and decision making, interpersonal competence, cultural competence, resistance skills, and peaceful conflict resolution.

The final broad category is Positive Identity.  Identity focuses on young peoples’ view of themselves – their sense of agency, purpose, worth and provide.  They include personal power, self-esteem, a sense of purpose, and a positive view of personal future.  The personal view of the future is a critical key with our youth today as many of them do not feel very optimistic about the future.  The sense of agency is the subjective awareness of initiating, executing, and controlling one’s actions in the world.  It is the pre-awareness that happens implicitly, kind of on automatic pilot.

These three blogs give you a deep insight into the 40 Developmental Assets for Youth.  I hope that you will examine further the resources that are available on the Search Institute’s website at www.search-institute.org.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich