How to create beautiful memories for youth

How to create beautiful memories for youth

Is there one specific positive moment from your youth that you will never forget? A special moment? A life-changing moment, perhaps? I have been caught up in writing this year. It is strange, as I have never regarded myself as being much of a writer, though clearly God has other ideas. All three books which will be published by the end of the year carry a theme of the ‘spirit of mentoring’ and they also aim to encourage people. So, I have thought deeply about all the people who have encouraged me over the years. And, in my youth, the moment that stands out for me was my last day at school. School finished each year with an Annual Prize giving celebratory event. I had the honor and privilege of being school captain during my final year at school and had enjoyed a memorable year. Creating memories The previous year I had discovered that as a young boy I had had cancer and was not guaranteed to live. I knew I had been seriously ill, but I never knew I had had ‘cancer’. Fortunately, thanks to the amazing skills of a wonderful team of doctors and nurses, as well as incredible support from my family, teachers and friends, I became a ‘survivor’. When I was appointed school captain, I determined that this would be the year I gave back to all those who had supported me on this journey. I set many goals and achieved them all and this included stepping out of my comfort zone and trying different activities, exploring things I might not normally have explored, and...
10 tips to nurture resilient youth (new book)

10 tips to nurture resilient youth (new book)

Have you ever wanted some quick tips and ideas to encourage your work with teenagers – as a teacher, coach, parent, grandparent, or youth worker? During the past couple of weeks I have been going through the final proof of my new book: Mentoring Minutes: Weekly Messages to Encourage Anyone Working with Youth. There are 260 daily messages – five each week of the year – covering many topics: self-image, communication, positively resolving conflicts, resiliency, goal setting and more. I have woven true mentoring stories throughout the book to encourage anyone working with young people never to quit on them. This blog is an example of one daily message. Tips to nurture resilient mentees A key role of an effective volunteer adult mentor is to develop resilient mentees. How can you do this? Here are a few ideas and strategies that I have used effectively for many years. The key point is that they are non-threatening, motivating and even, in some instances, inspiring. Focus on the development of a caring, trusting relationship with your mentees, and not on saving them. Have fun. Have positive, high, realistic expectations for your mentees. Never quit on your mentees. Meet your mentees’ emotional safety needs by being available to talk. Sustain kindness, for example, with a touch on the shoulder, a smile, or a genuine greeting. Get to know your mentees’ strengths, dreams, and gifts. Help them to develop the skills and resources to unlock these. You convey the message: You matter. Be reliable and accessible, and turn up for the agreed meetings with your mentees. Encourage your mentees to create positive peer...
What is the most important life lesson you learnt from COVID-19?

What is the most important life lesson you learnt from COVID-19?

What is the most important life lesson you learnt from COVID-19? Will you do things differently now? This might be a hard question to answer. Much will depend on your experiences to date. Lost a loved one during this time? Lost a job or business? School closed down for a while? Spent time in a lock down and isolation situation? Could not complete a course you wanted to finish off? Unable to travel, so lost an opportunity to pursue a dream or possible job opportunity? As I have followed the media, had to experience lock down and was unable to see my other family members, including my grandchildren, the most important lesson I have been reminded of again and again is how important relationships are – face to face relationships. And it has been interesting to listen to young people. All the majority of our youth wanted was to get back to school to be with their friends. How will the global community emerging from COVID-19 respond to this reality? More of the same? Seek to become a more compassionate, caring community? I am already reading many articles about online learning gaining momentum, shorter working weeks or more people working from home and so on. Yet, we have a chance to reimagine what our global community could be like. I have written elsewhere how I observed a Vertical Tutoring System transform a school and the time is surely right for schools to explore this system. It transforms school cultures in so many positive ways and there is a significant focus on how to build meaningful relationships. However, I digress....
Your 13 Key Positive  Qualities through COVID -19

Your 13 Key Positive Qualities through COVID -19

Can you remember the relationships you had when you were an adolescent? Did you belong to a small clique or did you have a wide circle of friends? Do you think more deeply about what meaningful relationships are all about? Will you place your relationships at the front and center of your journey through the COVID -19 pandemic? We are living in ‘unprecedented times’. I hear this phrase every day at the moment, We move into a time of lock down. It will be tough, but I am fortunate, as I can still do my beautiful daily beach walk, and am now forced to finish my new mentoring book to meet the publisher’s end of April deadline. I won’t be able to link up with my daughter and her family and the grandchildren to enjoy lots of laughs. And, while writing this book – converting my 260 free podcasts into 312 daily messages – I have reflected on all the people who have impacted my life through expressing the spirit of mentoring. I have written tributes to some of these people in the new book. As I played plenty of sport in my youth, I tended to hang out with some of my team members in the different teams in which I participated, which led to a wider circle of superficial friendships, though I had one or two closer friends who remained friends for many years. My experiences also reminded me of a conversation I had with 16-year-old Gabby who was working through relationship issues. Gabby was keen to do well at school and was genuinely striving to fulfill...