2020 has been an incredible year and it is not yet over. What is the most important lesson you have learnt from the events of 2020?

I have learnt so many lessons and continue to discern more and more that we are lurching into an area of rampant socialist thinking that will create more suffering because we never seem to learn lessons from history. I am learning that the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ does not seem to be narrowing and that many governments have used the pandemic to create fear in their countries. With this fear comes a government ‘control’, ‘top down’ hierarchical structure with lots of talk about democracy not matched by example and action.

I should probably clarify that I regard myself as a social democrat. I struggle with the mega billionaires, those who do everything they can to avoid paying tax, the greedy and those who sit on the extreme right. Then I struggle with the extreme left and I abhor communism, though I would dearly like to see an end to global poverty and a more egalitarian global community. That’s why I will probably always be an idealist!

Most important though is the powerful principle that is missing from much of the current chatter, whether it is on social media, or in political statements, or in an increasingly polarizing media which pushes its own agendas – character is more important than reputation.

The Biblical principle, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, is a great teaching principle to follow, although too many people appear unable to follow this principle because they do not love themselves for any number of reasons. That’s one reason why we need mentors!

The Spirit of Mentoring

So, as we move into a post pandemic period of time, I remind myself that authentic face-to-face relationships built on unconditional love and care is what every person cherishes. And we have the choice as to whether or not we wish to follow this path. Walking this path is made more attainable often with the support and encouragement of the wise guide on the side.

Small wonder, therefore, that I have spent the past three years collating all my resources – files and files of youth mentoring resources; vast amounts of teaching and leadership resources; coaching resources … the list goes on. By the end of 2021 I will finish sharing all these resources and some of the key lessons I have learnt over the years and continue to learn.

I had no idea as 2020 began that by the end of the year my U.S. publisher Wipf and Stock would offer me three book contracts to share my research, experiences and ideas in three separate books. And then this led to the creation of some EBooks, a few of which will be free.

I want to use this special blog to share these resources, as within them are many powerful principles to live by and share with youth, many of whom are struggling with the impact the pandemic has had on their lives. The Spirit of Mentoring theme is woven into each of these books and EBooks. Not every book will interest all readers and that’s totally understandable. Some of the books and EBooks are written for a specific audience. Most are generic in content. If you see value in what I share, please share this information with as many people as you know, as my aim is to be the encourager wherever and whenever I can, something I cannot do without help.

 

7 Key Qualities of Effective Teachers: Encouragement for Christian Educators (published by Wipf and Stock, January 2020)

This short, user-friendly book sets out to encourage and inspire Christian teachers in their critically important roles – in a post pandemic world – as transformative educators who motivate and encourage others to reach their potential. Content includes many easy-to-implement practical teaching strategies and powerful principles to live by; true stories about Christian educators encouraging others in both secular and Christian school environments and much more. Also available in Kindle. This is the book I would give to anyone who asked me for tips on teaching youth. It is especially encouraging to the new teacher setting off on their education journey to inspire, motivate and guide our young people.

Mentoring Minutes: Weekly Messages to Encourage Anyone Guiding Youth (published by Wipf & Stock, August 2020)

Probably my most important work, as it encapsulates so much of my teaching, coaching and mentoring career to date. This user-friendly book aims to encourage and equip anyone working with youth with the knowledge, strategies, powerful life principles, ideas and recent youth research to build meaningful and developmental relationships with youth. Five daily messages for fifty-two weeks of the year cover topics like: understanding the world of youth, self-image, the impact of technology on youth, resiliency, goal setting, effective communication, values, how to resolve conflicts using a positive mindset, the role of family and other networks in the lives of youth and the power of mentoring. Parents and grandparents will also find this book helpful. Also available in Kindle.

Global mentoring expert, Dr. Susan Weinberger, wrote the Foreword to this book and made this comment: “Mentoring Minutes in some respects has become an almost self-help[ book for mentors. In this regard, it is a unique and revolutionary approach.”

More tips, strategies and 167 Fun ideas for the mentoring journey (FREE EBook  published October 2020)

This is a first in The Spirit of Mentoring series of six EBooks which contain many of the resources, experiences and stories I was unable to include in other published books because of limited space. An encouraging resource for teachers, parents and anyone working with youth. When you download your FREE copy of Book 1 you will see how you can access Books 2 (FREE) and 3. Books 4, 5 and 6 will be available in 2021.

 

What’s in this EBook:

  • Understand the role and key qualities of an effective mentor
  • Listen to that inner voice – a true mentoring story
  • The sought after 167 Fun ideas to develop meaningful relationships with young people updated
  • Encourage youth to overcome adversity; understand the adolescent brain
  • Numerous free resources, tips and strategies to create meaningful mentoring relationships – key steps to grab your FREE copy of EBook 2

The 21st Century Education Revolution – An Education for Life (FREE EBook published November 2020)

 
With the emphasis on building positive communities in a post pandemic world, which brings teachers, students and parents together to create meaningful partnerships  and relationships, this FREE EBook highlights key aspects of the Vertical Tutoring System developed by retired UK principal Peter Barnard during the past +25 years. I facilitated the implementation of this Vertical Tutoring System at a large co-educational school (1300 students) in Australia (where I was Assistant Head) in 2017.
 
 
 
If one follows the key aspects of this system, schools are transformed, a genuine caring culture is evident, an authentic holistic learning experience occurs and one offers the most relevant pathway to prepare youth for life beyond school. My humble belief is that a few visionary principals could positively lead the transformation of the New Zealand education system and beyond and this does NOT cost vast sums of money – just a new mindset. Indeed, schools might end up saving money. What an opportune time for innovative and creative thinking. Anyone who has an interest in the education of our youth will probably enjoy this short, yet challenging, forward-thinking read.

Coming soon: The Barnabas Prayer: Becoming an Encourager in Your Community (published by Wipf & Stock)

This short, user-friendly book aims to inspire and guide Christians to follow the sacrificial, selfless example of one of the greatest apostles of the early church, Barnabas. It is packed with words of encouragement, powerful life principles, and practical strategies to become an encourager in your community. It is suitable for Christians of all ages, including senior students and can also be used for their leadership programs. The manuscript is currently being prepared for publishing by Wipf & Stock. It will be available towards the end of 2020/early 2021. Details will be available on my website.

There are a number of other mentoring and peer mentoring books I have written in recent times, most of which were updated in 2016. They are all user-friendly and include key powerful life principles and many words to encourage, motivate and inspire. There is more information on my website where other free resources can be found.