And you think your child might be addicted to the Internet?

And you think your child might be addicted to the Internet?

“If they fail, we fail together, so it’s our problem not their problem and one we can solve together – children should not feel left alone with failure?” (Jennifer Fox Eades) Can you remember, as an adolescent, how you dealt with self-doubt or friendship issues? What did you do to feel you belonged? Or, did you never feel you belonged to a peer group? Why was that? Were you able to turn to anyone you trusted to guide you through that challenging time? How did things work out? I remember building a wall around myself for a while, not wanting to communicate, except at a superficial level, with my peers, even my family, faking illness because I didn’t want to go to school, trying unsuccessfully to be ‘cool’ so I could join a peer group and have that important sense of belonging that all adolescents crave, occasionally wishing I was someone else and not liking myself. There was no internet in those days. I wonder how I would have responded if I could have done some browsing? When psychologists and neuroscientists describe the adolescent years as confusing, I can easily identify with that word from my own adolescent experiences and, of course, having been a teacher for so many years and mentored hundreds and hundreds of adolescents in that place of confusion, observing the highs and lows of their journeys through adolescence to adulthood, I probably have many stories to share. Brittany’s story 16-year old Brittany (not her real name) shared with me issues she was having with her best friend. Brittany was confused and also said she was finding all the...
Have you celebrated the mentors in your life?

Have you celebrated the mentors in your life?

When last did you thank a mentor who journeyed alongside you at some point in your life? Especially a mentor who walked alongside you during the challenging and turbulent teenage years as your brain was still developing and you were trying to find meaning and purpose to your life? I have personally thanked most of my mentors and they are always so surprised when I thank them. They had no idea they had had such an influence on my life? These were the people who encouraged me when I was filled with self-doubt, the people who spoke to a vision of my future they could see that I could not at the time, the people who did their best to empathize and understand the journey I was on, the roller-coaster of emotions, the people who gave of themselves selflessly because they cared about my wellbeing. Three key questions for the 21st Century How do we motivate and inspire the millions of young people who are drifting aimlessly to become the best they can be? How do we move alongside young people trying to find their way through the confusing adolescent years? How do we galvanize communities to develop a global youth mentoring crusade or an education revolution which places the family at the heart of the holistic learning journey? These are some of the questions I am regularly asking myself, though I have no clear answers, other than knowing that something has to happen to create a global movement that sees the skills, knowledge and life experience of millions of potential volunteer adult mentors being shared with young people...
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:...
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...