EMPATHY in Mentoring

This month, we’ve taken a closer look at the impact of stress in today’s students, and how we can help them deal with it in a positive way.

As we’ve said from the beginning, stress is not a recent phenomenon…it’s always been a part of life. So, chances are good that you have experienced some of the same stresses that your student is experiencing. Some of you may have even grown up in an environment of toxic stress. And, you’re a over-comer. You know what it’s like to feel the effects of high expectations or rejection or things that are beyond your control. Some of you also know what it’s like to grow up in a toxic environment of abuse or alcoholism. And, most likely, one of the reasons that you are a mentor today because you know what it is like. And because you had at least one caring adult who helped you deal with your stress in a healthy, positive way.

The bottom line is that one of the most effective ways that we can help students deal with stress is to share out of our own life experiences. But, we must be careful do this appropriately and without condescension. We must remember the feelings we had when we were teenagers…those feelings of being alone and even hopeless. Because, that is often how students can feel in the midst of stressful situations (even everyday ones).

As adults, we have a responsibility to understand and help the next generation grow up into healthy members of our communities. The good news is that as a mentor you can be the one who brings hope by helping your student deal with stress…and ultimately help them overcome too.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach