Hi Everyone!  I know I am a little late but I hope you all had a good 4th of July, and to those of you from around the world I hope everything is going well for you too.  For my holiday I got to have an incredible experience where I was fortunate enough to get tickets to see the Tony Award Winning Musical – Dear Evan Hansen.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it is a moving story about a socially isolated teenager who gets caught up in a social media lie involving a student who has committed suicide.  There is so much in this play that I am compelled to talk about, but I am going to save the discussion about suicide for another post, I will eventually get to it because it is such an important topic and it needs to be talked about more openly.  For now I want to stick with this relevant and modern story that I think just about anyone can relate to on some level.  There is a universal theme about the human experience which is that we all have the need to belong and that lack of belonging leads to a feeling of loneliness and isolation.  I see so much of this from people in my own life and on social media that it just seems as though more and more of us are feeling this way.  I think that’s why it is important for messages like the one in Dear Evan Hansen to get out into the public so everyone can start understanding that they are not alone.  One of my favorite songs in the show is called “You Will Be Found” and it’s about how no matter how lost you are or dark times may seem, there is always hope that someone or something will find you and help you back up.  This is the heart of the message that I think we need to get to as a society.

This is an issue that teenagers struggle with probably more than any other group.  It is a time in life where the need to belong is very strong, but unfortunately that is not the experience everyone has and teenagers do not have the developmental skills to understand life works in cycles and the unhappiness they are feeling now is only temporary.  This play does a great job of explaining life’s difficulties especially when it comes to feeling lonely and then putting this message into context for people of all ages and backgrounds.  If you are someone who is the parent of a teenager or preteen and it is possible to take them to see this show, I would highly recommend it as a great way to open the conversation between the two of you.  However, it is not possible for everyone to do that, so finding other ways to connect with them and open up a dialogue is important.  You can always do this by taking the time to learn what your child’s interests are, and then using that as a way to find out what connects them to this particular thing.  Dear Evan Hansen also does a great job of honestly depicting the struggles parent-child relationships can have during this time in life.  There is truly something for everyone in this play, if you are a teenager you will find at least one character to identify with, but parents are not forgotten either – the hardships that go along with raising a family are accurately portrayed as well.  My hope would be that honest stories like this can open up conversations that families are needing to have.

As great as this show is, one of my favorite parts is that the ultimate message to take away is how important it is to be your true authentic self.  This is what everybody needs to hear and Dear Evan Hansen does it in a way that is touching and beautiful but also relatable.  Whether you can see the play or not, I hope that if you are the parent of a teenager you can take something away that will help to improve communication between you and your child.  This can be a difficult topic, so if you have any questions that I can answer please leave a comment or e-mail me at Kelly@pathways2healing.org.  Thank you so much for reading my blog, good luck on your journey until next time we meet.

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