Two Years of Positively Speaking

Kelly Curtis - Professional speaker, writer and counselor*** Monthly Feature Column ***

Positively Speaking
Building Assets in your Kids

by Kelly Curtis, M.S. from Pass the Torch

As of this month, I’ve been writing this column for two years.

It’s interesting to mark milestones like this one, particularly in conjunction with a look at what’s gone on in my life in the past 24 months: a homeschool experiment, move, new job, new school, and the writing and release of my first book.

What’s that expression about the rolling stone? I’m pretty sure it gains speed.

For the second anniversary of Positively Speaking, I will recap the Developmental Asset ground we’ve covered. We’ve addressed 17 assets within seven categories during the past two years, and also taken a look at the broader interpretation of the asset approach, including finding strengths in your children, and taking care of yourself as a parent.

Search Institute has identified 40 Developmental Assets, which research shows are characteristics of healthy, caring, resilient kids. The more assets youth have, the more likely they’ll resist risky behaviors in the future.

Each month, the best part of the experience is reading the thoughts and questions readers leave in comments. I appreciate your participation and hope you’ve enjoyed the journey as much as I have.

We’ve learned about the ways parents can become positively involved in their child’s education, what families can do to communicate better, what’s asset-rich about lemonade stands, and how the “other” adults in a child’s life have a major impact.


This category is the topic of my book, so you’ve read several articles about how to empower kids, including the many definitions of service, giving back to the community, raising charitable children, and how to create a safe environment.

Boundaries and Expectations

We’ve discussed the Love and Logic approach to discipline, through a two-part series on family boundaries. We also addressed the ways neighbors can keep high expectations, and how parents can set a good example on the soccer sidelines.

Constructive use of time
I wrote about how we can use play to bring out the creative spirit in youngsters.

Commitment to Learning

We addressed the vital importance of reading to our children, and the ways we can encourage learning and critical thinking through conversation.

Positive Values

My very first Positively Speaking column addressed responsibility, and was republished in the regional publication, Family First, in September. Last month I wrote about poverty and the ways we can help our children to understand and be sensitive to the social and economic issues faced by fellow citizens.

Positive Identity
We focused on body image and self esteem, and the ways we can encourage our children to join us in setting goals and resolutions.

Which columns have you enjoyed the most? Which assets would you like to learn more about? I’ve only missed one category – Social Competencies. So next month I’ll be writing about Planning and Decision-Making. Hope to see you here!

Thanks for joining in to build assets in your kids! I look forward to seeing you again next month for Positively Speaking.

Kelly Curtis is a Wisconsin school counselor and author of Empowering Youth: How to Encourage Young Leaders to Do Great Things. To read more about Kelly, please visit her Weblog, Pass the Torch or follow her on Twitter.


  1. says

    Wow congrats!

    I would really love to hear more about fostering independence and responsibility. My daughter is 10, and while I offer her a lot of independence, I haven’t completely let go of “babysitting” her, so I end up nagging a lot, which is NOT empowering.

  2. says

    Thank you soooo much Kelly for each and every post you’ve written for us here at 5 Minutes for Mom. We really appreciate it!!!

    I’ve learned so much from you and I look forward to learning more.

    Thank you!!!

  3. says

    WOW – I can’t believe it has already been two years!!!!

    THANKS for all your fabulous and helpful posts. You have been such a great part of our team. :)

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