Building Resilience is a Life-Long Process

As we wrap up this month’s mentoring focus on helping your mentee build resilience, I want to encourage you to have a long-term perspective when it comes to your mentee. Every hour you spend with your mentee, you are making deposits into his/her life. And, even though you may not always have the benefit of seeing the outcome of those deposits, you are making a difference. The time that you are spending with your mentee now will have an impact on shaping their future. So, let’s be resilient mentors ourselves as we walk with students through the storms of teenage life.

Building resilience is a life-long process. And, in the teenage years, it requires students to be aware of their strengths and to have a sense of their own self-worth. The challenge that students face in building resilience is when they (or others) choose to focus primarily on their weaknesses…

“I’m not good enough.”
“I just don’t get this class.”
“I’ll never be like…”

As mentors, we can replace some of this negative “self-talk” by getting into the habit of making positive statements to our mentees. Statements like:

“I’m really proud of you.”
“Keep trying and you’ll get it.”
“I knew you could do it.”

The reality is that all students have strengths and can act on them. As mentors, we can help our mentees focus on their strengths by acknowledging and celebrating with them when positive things happen. For example, when they do something well, change a negative behavior, or achieve a goal, we can point out their strengths to accomplish those things. As we do more of that, we will help them see their strengths and increase their sense of self-worth. And, when we can do that with our mentees, we will also be helping them to build resilience in their lives that will last a lifetime.

–Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach