It’s tempting to try to persuade young people that they did something impressive.
“Wow, you made a really strong connection between these two concepts!”
As long as it’s truthful and specific, this is good for coaching and advising young people, but it’s never going to make them feel like a champion.
While positive recognition is always helpful, we want young people to feel like the heroes of their own stories. And for that, we need tangible victories.
For us, this usually falls into the category of making something physical or hosting an event. Both are inescapably real. And because the product is real, the feedback is real.
When people see teenagers speaking eloquently about their personal growth and development, they inevitably have positive feedback which translates into the feeling of victory.
The goal is to start with small, tangible victories so that we make our way into bigger, ever more intangible victories. Everyone loves to feel like a champion. Now let’s make sure the games we seek to “win” are positive sum and leave the world better than we found it.