The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


What do kids need?

How parents and other adults can nurture caring, responsible youth

What do children need to grow up moral and responsible, caring about values and commitments larger than themselves? This question seems to require a gaggle of experts, who undoubtedly will disagree with each other. Yet every parent is expected to know the answer. That's why many are encouraged by Search Institute, which offers some refreshing answers that require only our experience and commitment.

According to Search, we've forgotten the blueprint, the simple, inexpensive things every child needs and any adult can give--provided they care enough to share themselves and their time.

With major, multiyear support from Lutheran Brotherhood--and the volunteer assistance of LB branch members--Search, a Minneapolis-based research and educational organization, surveyed more than 600,000 youth in hundreds of communities nationwide.

Combining this research with the results of thousands of other studies, Search developed, tested and refined a list of 40 developmental assets young people need to grow up healthy, caring and responsible.

Building blocks

The assets are "building blocks of human development that need to be present in at least the first two decades of life," says Peter Benson, Search's president. They are basic things like solid support from one's home, school, neighborhood and church; clear rules and expectations; supervised time at home; and opportunities to serve others and engage in an extracurricular activity or two.

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February issue


Embracing diversity