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...
The 10 most important 21st Century Emotional, Entrepreneurial and Employability Skills for you to share with teenagers

The 10 most important 21st Century Emotional, Entrepreneurial and Employability Skills for you to share with teenagers

What were the most important skills you needed for the world of work when you were at school? Did anyone ever discuss these with you? How did you decide what career to follow? How has the world changed since you were at school? Did you appreciate there were different roads you could travel to attain your career goals? Did anyone every explain this to you? We can all probably remember our times at school when we asked why were studying a certain subject? How was it relevant to our lives beyond school? I know, I used to ask this question often, as so much of what I seemed to be learning appeared to be irrelevant and boring at the time – indeed, as I think back now, some of that work still seems to have been irrelevant or, perhaps my teachers did not show me the relevance. Maybe I was not listening …. I was a normal teenager, yet I think today’s world is demanding more creativity and innovation as the Digital Age expands and evolves. I have thought about all these questions a great deal, read relevant books and articles and worked with hundreds of young people, during which time we would have discussed these questions as we explored hopes and dreams. I have collated all my information under 10 skills as an encouragement to anyone working with young people, though they are as relevant to anyone of any age seeking meaningful work in the 21st Century. Author Tony Wagner, in his challenging book, Creative Innovators – The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, writes:...
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...
Why your mentoring of teenagers is critically important

Why your mentoring of teenagers is critically important

Think back to your teenage years. Which adults had the most positive influence on your life? Why was this? What can you learn from that experience or those experiences and pass on to the next generation? When I was a teenager there were no mobile phones, social media platforms or X-Box games and so on and even then it was challenging. I was confused, often frustrated, moved between having high-self-esteem and low self-esteem, had to work through challenging family times and experienced the normal mood swings of any teenager. Our teachers and other adults in our lives did not have the benefit of adolescent brain research that shapes so much of our thinking today. Yet I sought out coaches, especially, who spoke to my potential I was not seeing, who listened to me and who empathically guided me through those challenging years. Mentoring guru, Marc Freedman, wrote one of the greatest books I have read on youth mentoring, The Kindness of Strangers – Adult Mentors, Urban Youth and the New Voluntarism, in 1993. It is as valid today as it was back then. Freedman mentions what he refers to as “a set of timely and attractive properties” that helps explain the emergence of mentoring “as a means of achieving social linkage”. 6 properties to understand the power of mentoring I am sharing these six properties and give all the credit to Marc Freedman for the content of the Blog, extracts being taken from pages 56 to 58 of his book. Mentoring is simple. The “one to one” concept takes an overwhelming set of social problems, such as those associated...
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...