7 Reasons Why Every Young Person Needs A Mentor
A mentor can have an extremely positive influence on a young person’s life, however, the effectiveness of mentoring is often overlooked. A mentor is someone who the mentee can depend on, someone that acts as an active listener, tuned into the unique needs of a mentee. With the right mentor, a young person can gain professional socialisation skills and receive personal support to facilitate long-lasting success.
Here are 7 reasons why every young person needs a mentor:
- Every young person has potential: We have all heard the saying: ‘In every caterpillar, there is a butterfly waiting to spread its wings, flourish and soar to greatness.’ Much like a butterfly, in every young person exists greatness waiting to be unleashed. Mentors can serve as a source of guidance and support to help young people reach this greatness by assisting a young person in goal setting and providing motivation.
- Mentoring is relational: It is believed that young people are very dependent on relationships to develop their ideas and perceptions of the world. This is mostly influenced by their interaction with social media, peers and adults. Young people can often feel isolated and disconnected from adults. This can result in a young person’s perceptions and opinions being influenced by misinformation obtained from peers and social media. Mentors can challenge and correct these perceptions and opinions from a more mature perspective and bring about an inquisitiveness, passion and a more informed opinion within a young person through dialogue and active engagement. The relationship between a mentor and a mentee can help build trust and illustrate the dynamics of positive relationships.
- All young people are unique and different: “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will go through its life feeling like it is not smart”. This quote is worth remembering as young people can sometimes feel pressured to fit into the same mould and can be expected to conform to limited ideas of success and greatness introduced to them through social media and peers. Since mentoring is such a unique process, it helps each young person to realise their own unique abilities, talents and strengths. It is important for each young person to realise the unique ways in which they can contribute to society around them. A mentor can help show a young person that if they are a ‘fish’ they may not be able to climb trees, but they could certainly swim!
- Informal education: Throughout a young person’s formal education they are taught a variety of subjects and skills, but they are rarely taught about themselves as individuals. Learning about oneself can be thought of as lifelong informal education that often has no curriculum or duration. However, it is imperative that young people start getting to know themselves before heading out into the world as adults. Knowing yourself helps you to make well-informed decisions later in life such as career choices, social or relationship choices and educational choices. The unique process of mentoring gives a young person the personal space to discover things about themselves which they can use later on to make these important decisions. A mentor can also act as a valuable sounding board since they have the advantage of experience, and they can help steer a young person in making profound discoveries about themselves.
- Challenge thinking: Sometimes young people can be overly accepting of certain ideas about the world around them without challenging these ideas and forming their own opinions – such as what kind of future is attainable for them in terms of education and career options. We live in a world where young people are inundated with what the ‘ideal future’ is, but rarely are they encouraged to self-reflect and challenge what motivates and inspires them personally. A mentor can challenge a young person’s aspirations and ideas so that they may be better understood.
- Accountability: A mentor can act as a great sense of accountability for a young person to reach their goals and their true potential. Young people may be accountable to a parent for their household chores, or a teacher for their homework but who makes them accountable for their life goals? This is where a mentor comes in. They can set weekly goals for a young person to ensure that they are reaching those goals or working towards those goals. They can also help their mentee stay on track with their ambitions through providing the unique tools they may need to reach those ambitions. Accountability is also a vital life skill for a young person to learn as it fosters responsibility and independence. When a young person is accountable they learn to take responsibility for their own growth.
- Staying grounded while dreaming big: It’s good to dream big! But sometimes a young person’s ambitions can be rooted in fantasy, and from time to time they can lack the ability to recognize the reality of a situation. A mentor can help in grounding a young person and guiding them practically through some of the realistic challenges they may face on their way to achieving their greatness and goals. A mentor helps to bridge the gap between how a young person may see the way forward and what is realistically the best way forward.
Whilst it’s true that many of the benefits of a mentor can to some extent be fulfilled by a parent or sibling, it may be important to a young person that their mentor is from outside of their immediate family. In our experience, most young people derive greater benefits from mentorship when paired with a non-parent mentor, and that they thrive within this unique and valuable relationship.
If your child is between ages 11-16 and you are interested in our mentoring programme, please contact us for more information. We also have great tutoring as well as enrichment programmes available.