by Andrej Ciho, Director of the South Atlanta Bike Shop
Language is important to me. It not only conveys information, but reveals what we believe and how we view the world and people around us.
When we were starting the bike shop six years ago, one of my wise mentors gave me great advice regarding the youth I would be working with: “They’re not empty vessels just to be poured in. They are treasure chests to be discovered.”
I intentionally treat our youth as if they already are who I believe they are becoming. This means speaking confidence and belief over them, to them, and about them in front of others over and over. I imagine enough voices remind them who they are not and what they’re lacking to be accepted.
I’ve gotten used to the blushes and shy smiles brought by my words of confident encouragement. Just recently a student bypassed one of our young leaders to ask me for direction with a bicycle repair she was struggling with. I gently reminded her to ask her team lead who is more than competent and has my full trust to make decisions. I expected the familiar blush on the young leader’s face, but there was none. Just a confident expectation for the student to repeat the question, this time addressing the young leader.
The young leader finally embraced the treasure I saw, believed in, and spoke for several years. So I invite you to believe in and pour into young people around you. You may not always get to see the impact of your encouragement, but as the motivational quote says, “Be who you needed when you were younger.”