The first and maybe the most important role for us is to be curious of our own blind spots. Specifically, the ways in which we interact with others out of our unconscious expectations. Humans create an impression about others from limited information. Very quickly we interact with the impression or story we have made versus the actual person in front of us.
For example: One of our teens who signed up just finished chemo and radiation last week. He struggles with nausea, pain and loneliness. He has radiation burns down is neck and shoulders. Having the thought that he is weak and fragile, would not be surprising. But is he? By thinking or even just feeling this way about him will change the way I interact with him, what I expect of him, and potentially what he expects of himself.
Please listen to How to Become Batman part 1 of NPR: this podcast considers how we as a culture may create blindness.
Consider our teens…What are your preconceived notions about them? Do you see them as a victim to their cancer diagnosis? It will be a balancing act for all of us to hold back our our own needs to nurture and protect
A reminder about vulnerability: When people are feeling vulnerable they often follow the lead of those they trust. These teens are going to look to us and trust us. We can help these teens redefine how they see themselves by seeing them as strong and capable.