Here’s a small idea for you especially if this is something that you have never done before.
Find a young person and offer to take them under your wing. Offer to become a mentor to them. There are plenty of organisations out there that run such schemes. All you have to do is step forward and offer your time.
It easy to put yourself forward and it only takes a hour or two of your time every week. I’ve seen first hand and been someone who’s made a difference, in a young persons life, just by taking an interest and offering them not only the time, but also just being someone that listens to them. You don’t have to offer experience, advice or guidance. Just being there is enough and if you feel confident enough, then you can offer more in the ways of wisdom and leadership.
I’ve always said and I continue to maintain that this world would be an extremely different and a much better place if we just offered our time to the younger generation. You may think that they’re not ready to listen but you’ll be surprised by how much you can enhance the quality of a teenagers life by working with them on a one to one basis.
I’ve also always said that every single child on this planet is my child and I have a responsibility to them. I can’t necessarily reach all of them but even if I reach a few, a handfull, it will make all the difference to them in the world and to the world.
Mentoring is a gift. It gives the person you’re mentoring a sense of belonging, of being respected and acknowledged. They want to be listened to and they appreciate the time that is given to them. Not only does it give them something but the amount you get back is immeasurable. You’ll also feel a deep sense of personal empowerment which you will then be able to carry to over to other areas of your life. You’ll need to make a plan though. When you meet your mentee for the first couple of times find out where is it exactly that they need personal expansion. Use lots of open questions that being with: How, what, who, where or when to get them to talk and fully express themselves.
I was recently interviewing a young girl, she was only 15 and I was doing a mock interview with her as she was getting ready to go off and search for work experience. I didn’t know this beforehand but apparently this young lady had a phobia of school and yet she managed to draw the power from somewhere to turn up for that particular day. I interviewed her as if I was interviewing her for a real job. She did extremely well and at the end I gave her lots of encouragement but balanced with some useful constructive feedback. I only found out afterwards but apparently what I said to her really made an impact and she left the room beaming and went to her teachers elated as she felt like she’d done so well! All I did was spend five minutes at the end offering encouragement and advice and who knows how much of a difference those few short moments have made in that young girls life.
So what are you waiting for? Go now and find out if your local council runs an EBP (Education Business Partnership) or some other kind of mentoring scheme where you can give something back to others.