April 15, 2011

Optimists reinforce good behaviors

For an organization whose original motto was "Friend of the Delinquent Boy," Optimist Clubs do a lot of recognizing of good children.

Could it be that Optimist Clubs believe in positive reinforcement of good behaviors? I would say so, yes.

Optimist International has five driving purposes. (Purposes of Optimist International) All are aimed at making our society a better place to live by developing responsible, caring citizens and fostering a positive outlook on life. To that end, the founders of the organization created social programs to address the needs they saw in their communities and adopted a framework that would be flexible as time passed and needs changed.

Since its adoption in 1922, the motto has changed from "Friend of the Delinquent Boy," to "Friend of Boy," to "Friend of Youth," and has now largely been forsaken in favor of the last clause of the mission/vision statement "Bringing out the Best in Children." Over the years, the needs have changed and Optimist Clubs have evolved to meet specific needs in their own communities.

One constant has remained: Optimist Clubs help children reach their full potential by honoring them, recognizing them, working with them, and encouraging them to be better citizens. One might even say that  Optimist Clubs hold Youth Appreciation Week year-round, fifty-two weeks a year and by showing their appreciation, they encourage others to try harder and do more to contribute to their families, schools and communities.

Such positive reinforcement is a model for a positive, optimistic life.

Thanks to the Optimist Club of Bixby, Oklahoma for the photo of Susan Bevard, Club President presenting honor cords to student members of the National Honor Society. 
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