When you mentor children, you must know that they don’t have to tell you anything. Appreciate that they trust you enough to talk to you. In a world that doesn’t allow our children to be innocent. Our society has become so critical and accepting of everything, how do we protect and nurture the logic of a brand new individual? There’s so much criticism immediately out of the womb…shoot it happens when the child is in the womb. Who’s the father, are you married, do you want a boy or a girl, you’re too young to have a child, you’re too old to have a child. STOP
Our children are flooded with the pressure of success and money and they have no idea how to attain either. Society is shaping their priorities before they allowed to even walk…so when they trust you enough to share with you…shut up and listen.
Don’t tell them anything…guide, advise, support, tune and adjust their perception.
You are possibly through half of your life’s decisions, they still have a million decisions to make, the best you can do is help them through these decisions.
When I’m entrusted with the thoughts of a mentee, I probe to understand how they rationalize. I try to find out, “How did they get to this answer?” When you listen to their logic, it helps you understand their process. Sometime their process is flawed, sometimes it’s just limited in scope and understanding. That’s where you come in…help them arrive at a resolution that is positive, balanced and forward moving.
For example, I mentor a young boy named, Marcus, almost 10 years old. We’ve only talked a few times but he’s a smart kid, very self aware. He said he wants to be a; Professional Gamer, Video Editor, Actor or Olympian. I said, “Well you can be all those things. You could actually work and earn a living doing the gaming and editing for a company while acting on the side. You can also improve your skills as a swimmer. To be an Olympian you have to be exceptional so understand if you’re really good then keep at it. If you’re always coming in last…give it some thought. I’m not telling you it’s impossible…just keep all your options open. You could be gaming online and find out there’s a director that likes the same game as you. You tell him you’re acting, talk to him about it, send him your acting portfolio and headshots and make it happen. Also with tech you have to always be looking at what’s the hottest game or technology to stay abreast of the newest trends. My point is engage in anything that might be fun to you and you might actually be able to find a way to make a living off of it.”
I didn’t tell Marcus what to do…he just shared with me. If you tell them what to do all the time, they never get to mature their own rationale and thinking processes and when that happens they start to just believe and follow whatever is on instagram, twitter or any other platform. Then they become part of the masses that are criticizing and adversarial. They default to the comfort of being ambiguous because it’s too intimidating to actually have an opinion that’s not accepted by everyone.
My last point…children are being vulnerable and asking for help, you should really listen and aid them on their journey even if it’s beyond your own horizon.
Oh wait…the tip this month is to be his coach not his friend.
Ps. Marcus…if you’re reading this, you could also start your own company gaming or video editing.