What It Means to Be a Mentor:
- active listening
- seeing through and beyond behavior, production, performance, and deficiencies
- ministering to wounded and broken hearts
- being patient and present, accessible and available
- identifying and meeting needs, and seeking the roots of at-risk behavior
- walking beside young people even through crises and poor choices
- celebrating joy with them
- connecting them to specialists when needed
- problem-solving together
- spend time enjoying fun activities and projects with them
- handshakes, high fives, and hugs
- identifying and accentuating their gifts
- providing means of expression that they desire
- drawing out their hopes and dreams
- teaching life skills and success elements
- The 40 developmental assets identified by the Search Institute are building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up to be healthy, caring, and responsible. [downloadable pdf]
Napa County Secondary Education Data:
- The California Healthy Kids Survey, in two-year cycles, takes into account elements such as caring relationships with adults in school, truancy, and extensive research into drug and alcohol use. You can view the latest completed survey forNapa County secondary students.
A Letter from Tom Amato
If I were to tell you that our kids want to share the most important parts of their lives with us as adults, would you be willing to listen? As a parent, do you want influence in the life of your kids? As a teacher, would you want your students to be motivated to succeed? As a community member, would you want our kids to be productive members of society? If so, then we are going to have to communicate together and be understood. Prerequisites: active listening, understanding, empathy, nonjudgmental attitude, willingness to meet needs, and an action plan to work together. Let’s become the extended families that kids have lost. Let’s be there for them.
Ultimately, this is the question: “Is this challenge worthy of our time, effort, priority and resources?” Observe their comments carefully. Remember when you were experiencing this journey. Remember what you needed. Remember what and who made the difference. Attach emotions to the mental pictures that you see. When you do, you will likely be driven to desire to be involved in making a difference.
Major issues in their lives include boredom, use of leisure time, finding new things to do, insufficient opportunities to make money, transportation, adequate career preparation, overload, long school days, low energy and lack of sleep, not being accepted/cliques, being unmotivated, insufficient parent preparedness, needing help but insufficient help available, parents not dealing with their problems but holding high expectations for their kids, insufficient chill time, and a lack of adult mentors.
Let’s give it a try. If asked, “What hurts deeply or causes the need for coping measures?” our kids say, “an unstable home,” “parents fighting,” “being let down,” “parents so busy they don’t have time for me,” “a lack of trust,” “not being accepted or fitting in.” When asked what they desire, adults tend to be a central theme: being understood by adults; spending time and communicating with parents without them getting mad; adults listening to, respecting and valuing their thoughts; time shared with caring adults; doing things with their parents; understanding, caring, nonjudgmental adults; adults “being there”; being taught “life” from parents/adults rather than peers; positive adults; forgiveness; knowing you are loved unconditionally.
One young man said, “You tolerate me, some may even accept me, but what I really desire is for community to value me for who I am.”
- Bocchino, Rob. Emotional Literacy: To Be a Different Kind of Smart
- Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
- Hopkins, Gary, and Joyce Hopp, It Takes A Church
- Faber, Adele, and Elaine Mazlish.How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
- Glasser, William. Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom
- Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
- Levine, Madeline. Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
- Pipher, Mary. Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls
- Pope, Denise. Doing School: How We Are Creating A Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students