Do you ever have those moments when your inner voice seems to be strongly telling you to do something and you fail to act?
These days, I tend to listen to my inner voice and act, even if there might be some risk involved.
My day begins with a quiet, reflective time and then I head out for a 20 – 30 minute walk or jog, running along some well worn paths by the sea. Often the rising sun produces some spectacular sunrises, reminding me how privileged I am to live where I do.
Today the inner voice was speaking and, when I went for my walk, it seemed to persist, so I decided to obey. Lucy (not her real name) is turning 17 later this year, in her final year of school and has been doing it tough for quite some time, mostly dealing with difficult family relationships. Yet, despite these difficulties, she produces better than average academic results, evidence of a resilient spirit.
The one relationship that is so important to a young woman approaching adulthood is the relationship with their mother. I sense Lucy’s relationship with her mother is fragmented.
As a result Lucy rides an emotional rollercoaster and that could result in antisocial behavior tendencies, significant mood swings and the possibility of inappropriate behavior.
I have not had much to do with Lucy. I have never taught her and have only spoken to her because she was part of a conversation I was having with another student recently.
I have watched her playing Sport on a Saturday and seen much enthusiasm, great participation and, clearly, an enjoyment participating as a member of a team. Earlier this week I watched her swimming in the school’s annual Carnival, in which most students participate no matter how good or weak they are at Swimming. Lucy swam impressively, definitely doing her best in the events in which she participated.
I heard a fairly reliable rumor recently that she and her mother had had another fall out. Assuming that Lucy’s mother was wobbling on the day, she had evidently said that she wished Lucy had never been born, a comment that Lucy had overheard and, quite naturally, had left an already vulnerable girl feeling even more fragile and having a bit of a melt-down at school the next day.
So, when the inner voice told me to email a word of encouragement to Lucy today, I decided to do so.
An edited version of what I shared with Lucy went something like this:
“I have watched you participating in some of your school matches and then at the Swimming Carnival and I just wanted to congratulate you on the way you give everything your best shot. It is great to see and it also looks as though you are enjoying the participation too.
Clearly you have plenty of talent and I hope that you will continue to develop it during the rest of your final year at school.
When you walk out of the Final Assembly at the end of the year, I hope you will do so with no regrets, knowing you have seized every opportunity available to you and made the most of the year, including gaining the academic results you are striving to achieve.
I always tell students, in their final year of school, to surround themselves with positive peers who are striving to become the best they can be and that leads to positive mindsets and positive relationships which carry them through the challenging times.
The younger students are probably looking up at you with both respect and admiration and I hope you might even inspire some of them to step up and give everything their best shot as well.
Well done on all you are achieving!”
About the author: Robin Cox has been a School Principal, sports coach to National Under 19 Level, Youth Symposium Organiser, developer of Youth Mentoring Programs in New Zealand and Australia, Churchill Fellow and author of books linked to youth mentoring, Peer Mentoring and the development of adolescents to become the best they can be. He has trained over 1,000 volunteer adult mentors, run workshops for teachers promoting the Spirit of Mentoring and personally mentored over 1,000 adolescents. Still an idealist, a cancer survivor of 50+ years, married with two adult children, Robin lives in Australia and shares a passion with anyone wanting to make a positive difference in the global community. You can join him on Twitter @million2016coxy or on Facebook or contact him through his YES! website