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The Olymp-i-a Challenge- Create a Better World!

The Olymp-i-a Challenge is a daily exercise of creativity for peace, green-living, and health. The Challenge engages children and youth in the practice of empathy, intentional awareness and creative expression. We grow stronger in what we practice!

Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH
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The Olymp-i-a Challenge- Create a Better World!

**NOTE: Be sure to read the highlighted sections (in bold) and "My Goal" and the "Call to Action" (at the end of this post).

I see three key issues to be of paramount importance to our future well-being and existence as a global society: peace, green-living, and health. These issues are synergistic and interdependent. Often the overwhelming nature of these issues can make people feel powerless to effect positive change.  How can we move past this inertia?

Ultimately, we need creative confidence to address these global challenges and create a better world! Creativity has always been required for survival. We cannot keep doing the same things and expect to get a different result.  

As I review the research in positive psychology, empathy, and happiness, I have noticed several cross-cutting themes.  There is power to effect positive change (enhanced well-being, happiness, resilience, and success) through simple, effective techniques such as increasing our daily positive intentional awareness, expressing our gratitude, holding positive thoughts in our minds, and daily journaling.  I created the "Olymp-i-a Challenge" to add a purposeful dimension to these techniques... happiness with purpose... positivity with purpose... creative confidence with purpose.  

The Olymp-i-a Challenge uses these techniques to engage children and youth in the practice of positive ideas and actions for peace, green-living and health.  The Challenge is a simple, yet powerful exercise to help children and youth strengthen life skills and creative confidence in these 3 areas.  

To do the Challenge, children and youth write or draw about their own positive ideas and actions for peace, green-living, and health daily over a set period of time, ideally 21-30 days (however, other time periods may be used). The Challenge can be done by any group of youth (classes, organizations, clubs, family members), and also by individuals, and in any location (schools, libraries, after-school, organization project locations, home, etc.). More information on the Olymp-i-a Challenge is available on the javascript:nicTemp();.  The website has specific resources for teachers, parents, and group leaders working with children and youth.

Scott H. Young says that humility is more important than confidence for self-improvement: javascript:nicTemp();.  Thus, I propose that we should seek creative humility as well as creative confidence in order to have the best positive impact.  I believe that empathy is a requirement for the balance of creative humility and creative confidence.   The Olymp-i-a Challenge is an exercise of learning, living, and becoming.  The Challenge builds multi-dimensional empathy—empathy for other people, empathy for other living things (animals, plants), empathy for our Earth and deeper empathy for ourselves. Empathy empowers and inspires creative ideas and actions. We learn new ways and discover new paths.  We increase our awareness and understanding.  We become more positive.  

Through the Challenge, children and youth realize the power they have to make positive choices. The Challenge motto is: “We grow stronger in what we practice.”  When I introduce the Challenge to children, I tell them there is one thing I can guarantee 100%:  They will grow stronger in what they practice. With a simple challenge, we can help strengthen positive daily habits, and ultimately, we have the power to change the world.

Now is the time for schools, teachers, and youth group leaders to engage children and youth in empathy, creativity, and life skills achievement in the 3 "P's". Just as important as the 3 "R's" have been historically for education, the 3 "P's" or "purposes" of peace, green-living, and health are essential for education today. The Olymp-i-a Challenge is a simple and powerful tool to do so. Enhanced life skills in these areas will ultimately create a more effective learning environment overall.  Daily immersion and practice are key. With practice, children and youth (our future generations) will become "Olymp-i-ans" and manifest their creative confidence (and humility) through healthier, greener and more peaceful lives.

MY GOAL:  All schools and youth groups engage children and youth in the practice of positive ideas and actions for peace, green-living, and health.  We need to adopt this practice as a way of being, as part of our daily routine.  

CALL TO ACTION:  I ask you to join me in designing creative ways to implement the Olymp-i-a Challenge and reach this goal. We can make this happen!   Together we create positive change!  See also: javascript:nicTemp();

I will be happy to talk with anyone who wants more information about the Olymp-i-a Challenge and how it can be implemented in schools, classrooms, libraries, scout troops, etc.  I can be reached via the javascript:nicTemp();.

Positive effects of the Olymp-i-a Challenge include:

  1. children exercising empathy and demonstrating increased intentional awareness of things in everyday life that impact peace, green-living and health;
  2. children practicing creativity and self-expression;
  3. children realizing they have the power to make positive choices;
  4. children realizing that what they think and do each day matters;
  5. children realizing how simple it can be to do the Challenge and that they can be successful at it;
  6. children learning that they become stronger in what they practice;
  7. children generating ideas for activities that continue past the Challenge;
  8. the Challenge fitting into the culture and daily life of the child; 
  9. teachers and parents of children also engaging in the Challenge (ripple effect), and;
  10. children gaining creative confidence (and creative humility), understanding their important role in the world.


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