Robin's Blog 4 Parents, Teachers and Mentors

Tips, ideas, thoughts and opinions to motivate and inspire all who guide young people as they journey through adolescence to adulthood.

Listening to that inner voice – a true story!

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...

11 tried and tested ways to assist a young person on the goal-getting journey

What would you think are key ways you can help a young person on the goal-getting journey? That’s the question I asked myself the other day when Glen came to see me. He specifically wanted assistance with planning, organization and management of his time. Glen is fortunate, as he is highly motivated, works hard in and out of the classroom and has some career goals in place, but he has been feeling stressed lately and not sleeping well. I have learnt over the years that when I encourage a young person to set achievable goals, their lives take on new purpose and their energies are positively channeled in specific directions.Indeed, part of the goal-setting process during the mentoring journey is to assist your mentees to make sense of the confusion they may be experiencing (as is normal at this stage of their lives). Among the ways you can help them are in guiding them to: identify their strengths; identify their passions and interests; determine how they respond to challenges; take non-life-threatening risks in a safe and secure environment; plan, prioritize and develop strategies, using resources available to them; commit to something and see it through to a conclusion; identify and solve problems, seeing obstacles as opportunities; evaluate their progress; appreciate that usually they have control over their choices and goals; appreciate that a dream is an end in itself, while goals are normally a means to an end – when all the goals (pieces of a puzzle) come together, they realize the dream; visualize their goals as if they have already achieved them, thereby increasing their self-confidence and self-esteem. At this...

15 goal-getting results from mentoring partnerships

How do you feel when you achieve a goal? I feel like celebrating somehow, especially when I have had to stretch myself and move well out of my comfort zone. If we can remember how we became goal getters, we have a story to share with our mentees, many of whom will need plenty of support to wish to embark on a goal getting program.More ands more Neuroscience research that I am reading is pointing to the importance of setting goals as an important aspect of brain development. This all reminded me of some examples of goals achieved by a mentee during a mentoring relationship in programs I have been linked with. These examples might encourage mentors and help them to appreciate that there is such a variety of goals one can encourage in a mentoring relationship, some fairly straightforward. 1. A mentee’s grades in one academic subject improved from 28% to 50%. 2. A mentee worked on lifting weights at a gym, which the mentor used to teach goal setting. They had a great relationship. 3. A mentee obtained a part-time job with the help of a mentor. 4. A mentee and mentor visited shops in a shopping mall, picking up job applications as they went. The mentee gained a job that same day, thus achieving a goal without having written any goal-setting steps! The connection between mentor and mentee provided a foundation to build on for the remaining months of their mentoring journey together. 5. A mentee worked at aerobic fitness as she was going to be a bridesmaid later in the year. She lost weight and...

Short novel for anyone wanting to see Adolescents become the best they can be

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...