Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What's Great About America

I'm a counselor. It is pretty great work. I enjoy it a great deal. One of the things that mental health professionals are sometimes asked to do is diagnose individuals with mental health disorders. That has never been one of my favorite parts. I really don't like labeling much.

But, there is a shift towards more positive psychology now days. I was intrigued with the Character Strengths and Virtues (CSV) assessment that came out a couple of years ago. It is used to help clients first identify their strengths and positive attributes. The client and counselor then can work together to identify how those strengths can be used to overcome the difficulties they are facing. It's brilliant!

Watching elections get negative is frustrating for me. No one likes to see the candidate they support get slammed by the other campaign and the media. I confess, somewhat sheepishly, that for a moment during this last election, I wanted to move to Guatamala or some place. But I said to myself, "Self, America has so much goodness, so many great people, and great American values."

I propose a campaign that focuses on "What's Great About America!" Get stories from every single state highlighting the strengths and virtues of this country. The virtues identified in the CSV assessment are wisdom/knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Then within each virtue are any number of strengths.

Having identified America's strengths the campaign could then focus on using those strengths to work on overcoming problems. Wouldn't that be a breath of fresh air? I would love to see the goodness of America broadcast, shouted out. Remember you cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. Instead use those American muscles to strengthen the nation all around. There is so much greatness. Let's put it to work.

No comments: