Learning from the past, moving forward to make a positive difference, and setting a better focus for the future, Sources of Strength has become a center for emotional and mental stability at Fruita Monument High School. By combining the key elements of family support, positive friends, mentors, healthy activities, generosity, spirituality, medical access, and mental health, the group creates a stabilized balance between these concepts vital for individuals to act on.
On November 7, selected students that the school saw as peer leaders were asked to participate in a 4-hour Sources of Strength meeting. A handful of teachers and staff were also invited to join the students to come together and take part in the leadership conference. Around 35 people including the teachers, ready to take on the day with an open mind.
Mrs. Meesh was the Sources of Strength leader who travels the nation talking to thousands of schools throughout the year. She discusses the importance of the mental, emotional, physical, and psychological health that is common to feel, but unhealthy to sit on. She had the groups sit in a circle and she began to talk about each section of the chart and why each Source of Strength was so important. She made sure to announce that she was not saying that feelings of depression, sadness, loneliness, and hurt are wrong and that you can’t ever experience them. But she did, however, make sure for us to know that when people are feeling such negativities that it’s acceptable and welcomed to ask for help. She asked students why they would rarely ever ask for help when put into a distressing moment or season in life, in which the majority of responses were based on the idea that asking for help was a sign of weakness and was frowned upon.
As she understood where these ideas were coming from, but she counteracted these thoughts about asking for help or a need for someone to talk to by stating that asking for help is the exact opposite of what many think. She said that asking for help will make you stronger as an individual, as you find comfort in being vulnerable with others when necessary, and that getting the insight from mentors, peers who you can truly trust, and even those who look up to you as a role model will drain your mentality of destructive opinions and views. She continued to discuss the importance of each section of the Sources of Strength chart, noting that it is good to be strong in some of the fields, but it is key to have a healthy relationship between all of them, as each of the portions are needed in life every day in order to maintain a positive mindset. For example, it was discussed that people can have multiple healthy activities, whether that’d be hiking, drawing, or singing, but constantly preoccupying yourself solely with healthy activities isn’t the most ideal aspect to always look at. Balancing healthy activities with every other category like spirituality and positive friends is just as necessary.
As the students and teachers came together, sharing personal experiences and what they’ve learned throughout the session, it was clear that you can’t assume that those wearing a smile on their face are truly happy, that those making others laugh are sincerely content with themselves, and that because you never hear someone complain that implies that they are never struggling. Sources of Strength opened the eyes to many people that day and showed that having a steady mentality and spreading the sources of strength will create a better living for everyone and for yourself.