During my winter break back in 2001, I had the opportunity to visit my old middle school. In Bennington, that’s 7-8th grade and while those were probably my worst two years ever, there was one place I wanted to see the most: Mr. David Flight’s chess club.
My old chess club teacher was as happy as ever to see me and I sat down with some of the kids and played a few good games of chess.
One of my major talents in any area is my ability to work with young people. I have mentored freshmen in high school, worked in the various age groups of daycares, and now I am in a mentoring program in college.
One mistake a lot of adults make is treating kids between the ages of 12 and 14 like they are still in elementary school. On the other hand, there are still some things that will go over their heads.
When mentoring, you have to talk straight to them as though they were as old as you, while using your common sense and not launching into heavy set moral discussions.
For instance, while I don’t approve of swearing, I’m not going to reprimand them every ten seconds. Most of these kids grew up hearing that and they can’t help it. Yet, at the same time, if they are within ear shot of kids younger than they are, I will ask that they try to modify their speech.
The best I can do is be there to listen and occasionally offer small snippets of advice.