NOW AVAILABLE AS A PAPERBACK AS WELL – THE SPIRIT OF MENTORING
The impact of social media on our young people concerns me greatly. Yes, we need to educate them on how to use social media responsibly, yet many parents of teenagers are not role-modelling this use themselves. Just check out comments from time to time on Facebook if you don’t believe me.
The real challenge, as new inventions occur in the field of technology, is how to encourage our young people to build meaningful relationships with peer and adults, helping them appreciate that ‘instant gratification’ and ‘entitlement’ thinking will not enhance their relationship building skills.
So, after eight or so years of writing, rewriting, rewriting, I finally produced a novel with the most powerful message of unconditional love and what it looks like that every honest human being hankers after and can attain, believe it or not – no, I am not saying or implying that it is easy, but, as the teenage characters in this story discover, anything is possible, particularly when it comes to contributing towards creating a more tolerant, loving global community.
How do we cope, as teenagers, with the peer pressure that confronts us day in and day out, in our relationships, via social media etc.?
How do we handle the daily challenges, as teenagers, that often leave us questioning who we are, why we have to deal with the ‘stuff’ life deals us, handle the times we feel lonely, different and even insecure?
How do we, as educators, move alongside students who are at the most confusing time in their lives and speak to the gifts and talents they are unable to see because of all the other stuff going on in their lives, around them etc.?
How do we, as mentors, wanting to move alongside a teenager, display unconditional love and grace to a confused young life?
How do we, as parents, come to understand these children of ours as they journey through adolescence, not making the mistake of trying to be their best friend, too afraid to pull them up for antisocial, disrespectful behaviour – how can an effective parent of a teenager be a best friend to them at that significant time of their lives?
How do we build our lives on strong foundations and develop lifelong skills to cope with all that life will throw at us, to become positive, resilient change-agents who actually empathise and care about those less privileged than we are and try and do something about it?
These are some of the questions I have asked myself throughout my teaching career, which led me to share a story, set in a fictitious school in Auckland, New Zealand, where I lived for eight years. Through the different characters, I have woven many of my own life experiences, hopefully giving greater credibility to the story. I remain strongly of the opinion that teenagers, particularly resilient young people who have discovered their positive strengths, can change the world in which we live – my teachers told me that and I can’t say my generation covers itself in glory in that area. However, many are ‘Making a Difference’ and that’s why I chose that title. The sub-title is: The Teacher-Mentor, The Kids and the M.A.D. Project and it’s available on Amazon (where you will also be able to read a synopsis of the book), so please check it out. It’s also available as a paperback through this website.
It’s deliberately a short, approximately 60,000 word, read, looking at life through the eyes of 16-year old Lisa Court. The school I worked at has an outreach program to the disadvantaged communities on the Island of Santo, Vanuatu. I visited there in 2014 and I returned determined to try and do something to contribute to those communities. So, initially, I will donate 50% of proceeds from the sale of this eBook to those projects and, because I am a Cancer survivor, I would also like to donate some of the proceeds to CanTEEN, the organisation working with young people facing the challenge of dealing with Cancer.