Be proud!


Last night, I had a lecture for a network organisation with leaders in Trondheim. The inquiry regarded inspiration on how MOT had gone from “nothing” to changing youth’s lives 27 years later, as well as becoming a strong brand established in four continents.

I began with stating that when we started in 1994, our mindset was different than what was usual. I focused on three elements. Number one was to build MOT as a brand. At that time, none of those in attitude altering work had focus on brand building. Number two was to make the sessions inspiring. The youth should be looking forward to and wanting MOT. Number three was to have a different philosophy. In the 90’s it was common that the “problematic children” were taken out of the class. These young people had often been exposed to many risk factors in their childhood, that made them head down a dangerous path that made them a risk to society and a risk to destroying their own and other’s lives.

Using MOT, it became easier for schools to establish the class as a protective factor that safeguarded “Stinky” with a wider background understanding. “Stinky” started upper secondary school with a backpack full of risk factors, and often behaved in a way so that he/she was rejected in class. The class became another risk factor, that again made the narrow line “Stinky” was balancing on even narrower. With great MOT coaches and teachers, the class became the opposite. The class went from being a risk factor to becoming a protective factor for “Stinky”.

All of us seek a “hand to hold”. It is important to find, but even more important who’s hand we are holding. For “Stinky” it was crucial that the class was a “hand to hold”. If the class haven’t been that “Stinky” would have seeked another hand to hold. Often, that is found in environments that are promoting crime.

It is not easy for the teachers, nor the class, to hold “Stinky’s” hand when he or she misbehaves, but it makes it easier to care when you know that “Stinky” is not doing well, doesn’t fit in, doesn’t like the school, lacks inner safety and is facing more challenges than most. When we understand this, it is easier for both teachers and the class to care, show love and firmness to “Stinky”. If the school and class don’t take care of “Stinky”, he or she will become even more vulnerable and excluded, and their attitude of indifference will increase. This affects the likelihood of him or her seeking mastery and belonging in other environments that are destructive for themselves, others and the society.

Criminals are not born “monsters”. Most of them haven’t had a single friend as a youth, and they have grown up with many risk factors and never felt loved.

I am so proud of the work you do in all MOT countries and in all MOT schools. You prevent that young people find themselves in criminal environments. Good class environments are an invaluable factor in the prevention of crime.

Good luck with the valuable MOT work you do.

– Atle –