Teenagers share truths about the powerful impact of mentors in their lives

Teenagers share truths about the powerful impact of mentors in their lives

When you were a teenager, who, other than your parents and friends, had a significant influence on your life? Who was the light in a season of darkness? The go to person? The strength you were looking for? What qualities or positive attributes did this person or these people have that impacted you? HOW did they positively impact your life? How long did the relationship last? Philip was my History teacher when I was aged about 14. He brought the subject alive, had a wonderful sense of humour and fired my interest in the subject that would finally lead to my decision to become a History teacher. He was reliable, consistent, had no favorites and was scrupulously fair and a man of integrity and a deep faith. I don’t recall ever having a 1:1 conversation with him outside the classroom – I might be wrong – though he always exchanged an affirming smile when we passed one another on the school campus. He probably does not know what a positive impact he had on my life at a time when I was seeking meaning and purpose having long since retired. Reflecting on my own experiences motivated me to do more, made more urgent when I heard of the tragic passing of a young woman who had been such a wonderfully caring role model and diligent student at a school where I had been the school principal a few years earlier. I have converted about 45 blogs to short video clips, all of which are linked to encouraging youth to reach their potential. These are available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHzVfIdmVQEwxTgvNKgp22g?view_as=subscriber  And there...
How you can meaningfully guide teenagers

How you can meaningfully guide teenagers

Have you ever asked parents what one wish they have for their children? Have you ever asked a teenager what one wish they have for their lives? What did you wish for as a teenager? Often you will receive answers from parents that all they wish is to see their children happy. As a teenager, I wanted to achieve so many sport goals and wanted coaches to help me achieve these goals. I wanted to be part of a supportive and encouraging team and, in that way, to have a sense of connection to and with others in my peer group. Teenagers generally want to feel connected. How do we know this? Why do they spend so much time on social media? We have to continually remind ourselves that researchers suggest that young people want to feel cared for (loved) valued that their lives have meaning and purpose If you want some quick tips each day about teenagers and how to understand, empathise, motivate and encourage them through their adolescent journey, there are FREE Mentoring Minutes tips available in the 260 podcast episodes I created. Each episode is on average between two and four minutes (maximum) and the aim of the podcasts is to let you slip one into your day each day, Monday to Friday, through the year. 7 ways to understand and encourage Today’s Teenagers Most of today’s teenagers learn best by doing things, reflecting on the experience and learning lessons from the activity which they can then apply to their daily lives. As adults we can help them make sense of what appears to them at...
If you value teenagers then read this!

If you value teenagers then read this!

Do you have teenage children? Do you teach or coach teenagers? Do you work in any way with teenagers? Earlier today I heard that a young man I mentored in the late 1980’s had passed away in 2017. I don’t know what happened and I am still saddened that Agrippa is no longer with us. He was a young man of courage and immense talent who came from a disadvantaged background, yet developed strengths that allowed him to fearlessly stand out from the crowd in an apartheid South Africa. He helped me develop non-racial symposia, had an amazing sense of humor, developed superb leadership skills and taught me so much about what a non-racial South Africa might look like. News of his death has brought so many memories flooding back. This has led me to think about about the power of mentoring, though mostly in relation to other students who crossed my path over the years, and wondering what they are doing with their lives today, what ‘might have been’ had they had the opportunity to be mentored when they were 15 or 16 years of age? Unique gifts and talents to be nurtured and encouraged by a non-judgmental Cheerleader. I was reminded of the positive results of an Online Student Performer that one of the early GR8 Mates student participants had completed at the end of their school-based mentoring program. The students had completed this task at the beginning of the mentoring journey and again, six months later, when the program officially concluded, though some  +10 years later, some of those adolescents, now adults, are probably still in touch with...
Positive or negative peer pressure? A life changing choice for a teenager

Positive or negative peer pressure? A life changing choice for a teenager

“All successful people have a goal. No-one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.”  (Norman Vincent Peale (1898 – 1993) Can you remember times as a teenager when you allowed negative peer pressure to influence your choices? Why was that? What impact did those choices have on your teenage years? Lessons learnt? Over the years I have done a lot of work in High or Secondary Schools, attended by 13 to 19-year old students. One of the greatest issues I confronted was the effect of peer pressure on the lives of these students. It is seen in the negative attitude to ‘anything’ that is said. It is seen in the way students, who want to ask questions, who want to get involved in an activity or who want to answer questions remain silent for fear of what their peers might say. It is supposedly not ‘cool’ to try too hard. Sometimes there are deeper reasons that complicate things even more, as will be evident in the four stories I’ll share in this Blog. Rachel’s story – the power of negative peer pressure I heard the story about Rachel (not her real name), who did really well at Primary School. However, when she moved to High or Senior School she only just passed her exams – 50%, 51%, those types of marks. When challenged, she admitted that she did not want to lose her friends, so she was just doing enough to get through. And, having been an enthusiastic class participant, she also retreated into herself so she did...
Why Teenagers need YOUR support and encouragement

Why Teenagers need YOUR support and encouragement

When you were a teenager, who, other than your parents and friends, had a significant influence on your life? Why was this the case? How did they influence you? Shelagh was my Grade One teacher, tough as nails on the outside, compassionate and caring when one got to know her. What was absolutely clear was that she gave her best to motivate, encourage and guide us as young children settling into Primary School. I wanted to do well for her, although her message was motivating me to reach my potential through making positive choices. On reflection, I think I had my most successful year academically that year – the power of an influential teacher! Shelagh also had a beautiful Alsatian, Alannah, which occasionally accompanied her to the classroom and received pampering from all the students. When I was seriously ill with cancer, Shelagh was there for me in her own quiet, empathetic and supportive way. She generously gave me a book of wild animals which I kept for over 50 years. She wrote me ‘get well’ cards. Although I was not interacting with her a great deal, the fact that she cared and was an encouragement and support to me, positively impacted my life and inspired me to become a teacher myself. We kept in touch all the way through my school days, indeed, until she finally passed away of old age. A special person who has left me with so many wonderful memories and I probably never really told her what a powerful impact she had had on my young life. Lessons from mentoring youth Mine isn’t the...
How you can help a teenager set personal goals – quick, proven tips

How you can help a teenager set personal goals – quick, proven tips

What would you do if you could leave school today and had all the qualifications you need? You have to pay rent, transport costs, mobile phone costs, clothing, food and daily living expenses and so on. So, you must acquire a job, which includes being self-employed and setting up their own business! That’s the type of conversation I often have when I meet teenagers and have begun to establish a meaningful relationship with them. “I don’t know!” is not an acceptable answer, as I remind them that they have a good brain that needs to be used 🙂 This conversation will inevitably unpack a passion and, once we have identified that, we can start talking about careers in the future, maybe including an entrepreneurial project while the student is still at school. If the latter, we talk about meeting a successful entrepreneur for a further chat. We explore the qualifications needed, skills required, university or some other tertiary institution that will have to be attended. We talk about living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. We start identifying strengths and link these to the goal getting journey, as this will build a more resilient teenager. And so, the goal setting process begins. As the student seems to have a meaning and purpose to his or her life, they can see that action will need to be taken to achieve this fulfillment of a passion. In so many young lives, this conversation becomes the game-changer. Suddenly, things begin to clear and they see a pathway into a bright and potentially exciting future. 15 Goal Getting Tips for Effective Mentors You can...