I recently completed the Due Drop Challenge, an extreme 16-day relay event to swim, bike and run from Cape Reinga to the Beehive in Wellington to raise awareness about the struggles young people face accessing counselling. The community surrounding this event was strong and the 16 events with my fellow athletes gave us all the opportunity to share our stories. I realised, the more I share my story, the more others can relate and share theirs – once they realise they’re not alone.
We need to be vulnerable to lead the way for others. Change won’t happen overnight, but we can all break down the barriers by starting a conversation and sharing our stories. What you can do to help out yourself and your mates is powerful. You don’t have to share or give all of yourself all at the same time, but a little part of your story is better than nothing.
The Due Drop Challenge showed me how this young generation of New Zealanders are so much more knowledgeable, empathetic and caring. Allow them to start the conversation, share with them if Dad’s had a rough day at work, or going through some challenges. Your kids are smart, they pick up on it. It’s important to clarify that it’s not them that’s causing you to feel this way, it’s what’s going on in your life.
While it’s important to share your story, it’s equally important to listen. The Due Drop Challenge was proof that we’ve got amazing young New Zealanders who, if we listen to them, back them, and give them the tools they need, they will thrive.