President’s Corner: Point of Viewing

By Children Rising | October 5th,2016

Randy Roth

Stand three people side by side to watch an event, get them alone afterward and ask what they saw and it’s likely you will hear three different accounts. Why? Because one’s point of view depends on one’s point of viewing.

Not long after Children Rising launched in 2001, I was introduced to a book that altered my point of viewing. Educator Timothy Stuart, over the course of 12 months, interviewed people from a wide range of backgrounds to identify key factors that contributed to their success. The results of the interviews yielded two recurring themes:

  1. Adversity provides a catalyst for a child’s character growth and is essential to success, and
  2. A trusting relationship with a caring adult helps a child interpret adversity and develop perseverance.

Stuart’s findings led him to write Children At Promise, a book that not only changed my point of viewing but also challenged my stereotyping. No longer do I label an Oakland child, rich or poor, as “at risk”. Stewart helped me recognize that 100% of our children are at risk, including those who grow up in affluent communities, but that 100% are also “at promise”. No child is exempt from adversity. No adult is a self-made success. Cesar Chavez aptly put it this way: “You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.”

Stuart observed: “These two elements – adversity and a trusting relationship – interact with each other to create a fertile environment critical for a child’s positive growth and development. Children are better equipped for successful, life-enhancing growth when they experience difficult trials in the context of a meaningful relationship with a caring adult.”

Children Rising has come to the poignant realization that a trusted relationship can help kids rise above adversity – and succeed not only in spite of it, but because of it.

For the children,
Randy Roth
President of Children Rising