Do you have a proven idea to inspire and motivate teenagers to share with the world? Better still, do you think your idea will make a positive difference in your global community? Do you have any idea how to share your idea with the global community?
I have a good idea – which has taken me over 40 years of life experiences to develop – to share with the world’s teenagers which I know will transform their lives and give them hope and a sense of purpose, encouraging them to use their unique gifts and talents to create a happier, more united global community.
Questions, questions and more questions. I find myself asking the questions above on many occasions. I am not a businessman and struggle to market anything, so am absolutely no use at working in these areas. I shared these thoughts a short while ago and decided to revisit them.
What I can do is encourage others. I can receive great satisfaction when I choose to reach out to someone in need of encouragement and offer to walk alongside them for a season of their lives. I know that is my gifting and is one of the reasons I chose to become a teacher.
Now, as I move into my retirement years, I find myself wondering how I can share all my vast resources of experience, knowledge and ideas with others to encourage the next generation to fulfill their God-given potential.
From a young age, I enjoyed being a team player. My satisfaction comes from working within a team – I am comfortable facilitating team discussions – and enjoying the fruits of our hard work. Sometimes we stumble and fall; other times we surpass our expectations; other times we have to pause, knowing that the timing is not right and patience is called for – patience is NOT one of my virtues.
The BIG Idea
The trouble is that I have a good idea to share with the world’s teenagers which I know will transform lives and I need a team to help me achieve this. It has taken me about 15 or more years to turn this idea into something that makes sense. I have had the idea endorsed by some teenagers, some leading child psychologists in Australia and a number of educators and others working with teenagers in other parts of the world. And, the idea is so simple, yet potentially incredibly powerful.
There are many things I have learnt about young people over the years. One of these is that there are many, many, many young people who are reluctant to share their deeper thoughts for a variety of reasons – they might be shy; they might have been shouted down when they have tried to share thoughts; they might feel they are silly for sharing something (even though most of their peers are likely to be thinking the same way); they might feel poorly about themselves or lack self-confidence for any number of reasons; they might not even know how to start a self-empowering journey!
What I did was gather all my research over about 40 years of teaching, sport coaching and developing youth mentoring programs, mix that in with my personal experiences mentoring well over 1000 teenagers, add a dose of the latest adolescent brain research and create 365 Daily messages to inspire and motivate teenagers. I had also recently updated The Spirit of Mentoring book I had used as a Training Manual when training over 1000 volunteer adult mentors – quite amazing, really, that the content is even more relevant today than it was a few years ago – and included some of the relevant material in the messages as well.
What is The BIG Idea?
The BIG Idea is so simple. Every day, at a time decided by the teenager, he or she will receive one of these messages – probably through a free app, if my dream is realized. The message will enter the sub-consciousness of the teenager and will become part of a stored bank of positive, encouraging and challenging daily messages. Teenagers will have the opportunity to learn how to follow their chosen goal setting pathways, develop resiliency as they identify their strengths, create positive and meaningful relationships in their lives, learn the importance of finding a trusted adult mentor (preferably three), appreciate the importance of developing effective communication techniques, discover the importance of looking at conflict in a positive way, are prepared for the 21st Century real world of work and so much more. Repetition is also deliberate, as the brain will positively develop as these messages are received and stored; on many days dopamine will be released as the teenager reads the message – a feel good, positive experience (so important in positive brain development) which could turn a day around in five seconds.
These messages have been crafted in such a way that they cover a number of areas over a two week cycle, thus helping teenagers to take ownership of two critically important sentences for their self-empowering journey: “I am lovable.” “I am capable.”
Why The BIG Idea?
Well, I know, from the consultations I have undertaken during the past two years and the trial with a teenage student in 2017, how powerful these messages are. I know that they will reduce bullying, improve a teenager’s understanding of the responsible use of social media, result in teenagers living healthier and more balanced lifestyles, develop resiliency and, hopefully, see these teenagers tap into the life experiences of so many amazing adults who would volunteer their time to invest in these young lives. Isn’t this how we build community?
I shared a few of these messages (three months of messages, actually) with a friend who was working alongside a teenager who had been suicidal. My friend was in an informal mentoring role and this young man trusted her and regarded her as his non-judgmental Cheerleader. While there are many reasons for a young person questioning the value of life, my friend took to sending him one of these messages each day at a time agreed between the two of them. Within a few weeks she had messaged me to say that the daily messages were having a positive impact on this young man, possibly even more powerful than I had imagined.
The BIG Idea for you?
These messages can be received by teachers, parents and mentors and can become topics of communication as we build meaningful relationships with teenagers. Who knows what can come out of a discussion between one of these adults and a student or between one of these adults and a group of teenagers? Whole school and local communities, as well as families, can be transformed.
Examples of The BIG Idea
To show you how simple, yet powerful this BIG idea is, imagine you are a teenager and receiving a message like this every day of the year – if the teenagers want a user-friendly guide with more information, Letter 2 a Teen – Becoming the Best I can Be will provide that information?
- I am responsible for my choices and actions. 🙂
- I know we all need boundaries or rules if we wish to live happily and unselfishly. 🙂
- Your life journey is about becoming who you want to be with the support of people you trust and respect. 🙂
- I can choose to make goal setting a FUN adventure! 🙂
- I can choose to place my mobile phone in another room at night, as I know how important it is to have nine hours sleep EVERY night while my brain is developing. 🙂
- Your future is at stake, so you never hesitate to seek advice, support and encouragement from those you trust. 🙂
- Your brain is still developing until your mid-20s. It is moldable like plastic and can be changed by experiences, so work hard at discovering who you are, explore new interest and ask an adult you trust to walk alongside you and encourage you. 🙂
- I can choose to learn, while my brain is still developing, that the skills I am learning will open up more possibilities and serve me well as I get older. 🙂
- I hold the seeds of GREATNESS within and I must keep aiming to be the best I can be. 🙂
- I can choose to set REALISTIC goals, confident that I can achieve them in small, positive action steps. 🙂
- I can choose to be responsible for my thoughts, my choices and my actions. 🙂
- You can genuinely value and respect the viewpoints and opinions of others without putting them down if you disagree. 🙂
- You can choose a mentor, a volunteer adult or older person you trust, to encourage you to become the best you can be. 🙂
- Your brain is still developing and, therefore, can only focus on ONE thing at a time – be careful about multi-tasking! 🙂
And then another BIG Idea for FREE
Rather than waste all this research and the collation of all that I had been doing, I decided to develop some FREE podcasts for anyone working alongside teenagers. Each Mentoring Minutes podcast is 1.5 minutes to 3 minutes in length, a deliberate strategy, so one can listen to one of the 260 podcasts each day, Monday to Friday for a year.
Most of my mentor training, teaching and coaching ideas have been shared in these podcasts. They would support parenting, coaching, mentoring, teaching, indeed, ANYONE working with young people.
These Mentoring Minutes podcasts are FREE – I know I am repeating myself.
And there is ANOTHER BIG Idea for FREE?
A few years ago I created a Facebook page and a Twitter space. Most days of the year I share some youth mentoring tips and powerful, yet encouraging quotes and short video-clips, simply to motivate and inspire those working with teenagers to keep on keeping on. They are available at @million2016coxy and my mentoring Facebook page.
Your BIG Idea to share My BIG Ideas?
Maybe you have suggestions or know someone who might be interested in partnering me – better still, be part of a team to share all these positive thoughts with the global community. If so, please do get in touch through any of the already mentioned media places or email me through the Contact page of my website where you will also find plenty of FREE resources 🙂
When I was about 17 I purchased a small poster which has been displayed in a prominent place on my study wall throughout my career: You Never Fail Until You Stop Trying.
And, that’s why I shared these thoughts in this blog. Who knows who might read it and open another door of hope to transform the lives of many, many teenagers and make 2019 a life-changing year?
About the author: Robin Cox has been a School Principal, sports coach to National Under 19 Level, Youth Symposium Organizer, 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 New Zealand and shares a passion with anyone wanting to make a positive difference in the global community.