“Dude, that’s not who we are.”

I'm thrilled to share an article with you from The Outer Banks Voice titled "Expert urges Dare to focus on youth potential, not problems," which covers my recent speaking engagement at the Children and Youth Partnership’s fifth State of the Child conference. You can read the full article at the above link, but I have also pasted an excerpt below. I look forward to you sharing your thoughts on the article in the Comments section, which is also below, and if you're interested in having me provide a keynote or presentation at your conference or meeting you can learn more about my availability here. Thanks.

"Throughout his presentation, Linkenbach stressed that harmful misconceptions nationwide about social issues such as underage drinking, physical and sexual assault, smoking and drug abuse can pigeonhole communities into believing that things are getting worse.

But Linkenbach argues that statistics over the last 20 years actually point to something entirely different, at the national and local level. Things are getting better, he said.

“We are under-perceiving the positive,” he said. “The concerns are real and substantial, but is that really the lever we want to pull?” he asked. Fear appeals, he said, are having a reverse effect among young people today. “They are turning the channel . . . tuning out.”

Communities, he said, need to work to bridge the gap between what is actually happening among its youth instead of the perception of the norm.

“We need to replace the spirit of fear with the spirit of care and compassion and we need to intentionally create that spirit. Fear appeals are backfiring.” What it comes down to, he said, is “that if you want health, you need to promote health.”