Be Worth Being Looked Up To
In this environment, any individual can set the example for the rest of the pack. But as you know, size inherently bumps someone’s influence up a notch or two.
That’s why we put a lot of pressure on our high school-aged students to be aware of this. Those couple of notches can mean all the difference for the heroes who are physically smaller and in a different spot in their hero’s journey.
Youngers are both figuratively and literally looking up to each and every one of the Launchpad heroes.
When you’re in elementary school, the high schoolers seem like giants. In your eyes, they naturally shine and you want to be just like them, act like them, have the same freedoms that they have. It’s instinctual to mimic the behaviors of someone you admire, whether that admiration is truly earned on their part or not.
I know that I looked up to my big sister when I was younger, and that meant dressing like her, acting like her, liking the same music that she liked. It didn’t matter that she was going through a mid-2000s emo/scene phase and had an absolutely hideous personal style that she would later live to regret. If she was doing it, I was doing it too.
Someone is only worth being looked up to if, by copying them, you encounter positive personal growth. This is especially important within the student-led system that we have implemented. The “big kids” aren’t simply intimidating passerby’s in the hallway. All ages intermix and mingle during projects and throughout the day.
We have ingrained in our high schoolers that even when they don’t think someone is looking, there is always someone paying attention. This can create opportunities, or destroy them. Ultimately, it’s always their choice which one is the case.