Mentoring teens is rewarding for both the Mentor and the Teen. The mentor feels a deep sense of satisfaction, understanding, and connection to his life when he was a teen. It keeps the mind sharp and and the personality young. Connecting to teens gives you a sense of accomplishment that can not be found anywhere else. As you watch the teen become a leader, a better student, and a better family and community member, you take great pride in helping them reach maturity.
Teens look for guidance, structure, education, attention, and a source of future goals. If they are not getting these at home they look elsewhere until they connect. They can make this connection in less desirable ways such as with gangs, drug addicts, criminals, and even older adults who prey on teens for their own pleasure. The teen learns to trust those that make him feel whole but those that he should stay away from. A mentor can offer another path for that teen. Once the bonding takes place, the teen will not need other sources of love and acceptance.
A teen is eager to learn and be a “part” of something. A mentor can help him direct his needs into healthy avenues. By showing the teen you enjoy his company and really care about him, you will have a strong connection to build this teen into a winner.
Show him life can be fun. Show him that he can get a good education and just how important it is in the big picture. College is a must for a good paying job that will carry him through life. Let him know his future can be grand with hard work and perseverance. Giving up is not an option. Life has many things to offer a teen as long as he stays focused and never lets anyone distract him from the path to a good life.
The teen must see your life in totality. By being a part of your life he will strive to have a life like yours, making goals for that result. Let him ride in your car, come to your home, relax in your spa. Bring him to work with you and show him how you make a living. Let him participate in a family free of distractions like poverty, abuse, drugs and alcohol. He needs to not only see but feel what “normal” is in a family. And he will say “I can do this” and “I want this to be my life”. When he asks you to help him achieve his goal no matter how distant they may seem, give him HOPE.
With hope, understanding, faith, and courage, a teen can achieve the wisdom to make a better life. It is up to the mentor to take the time to give the teen the little push forward.