Jason Matthews is a youth pastor in Washington State, where he’s been serving students for over 20 years. When he doesn’t have to be in the office, he loves to be outside with his family, hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest. He also loves to network with other youth workers.
Be Encouraged (being available!)
After winter break, one student came to school and appeared to be pretty upset about something. The student was so agitated that they chose to say absolutely nothing to anyone for the first few periods of the day. When I talked to them, and asked if they wanted to see their mentor who was scheduled to come an hour later, still nothing. However, when the time came, the student showed up for their meeting with the mentor and the two of them played UNO for hour. Not a single word was spoken. The mentor was so patient and so caring that they were willing to “mentor” in silence.
Students need verbal affirmation to combat the negative messages they hear from others and from themselves. So, what are a couple of ways that we can offer verbal affirmation?
We can be intentional with our encouragement. Look for specific positive things to comment on about your student. As adults, we can be pretty generic in our words of encouragement when we say things like “Nice job!” or “I’m so proud of you!” Those aren’t bad things to say, but they’re even more meaningful if you tell them why you’re saying them. Next time you’re with your student look for opportunities to be specific in your verbal affirmation. Say something like, “I’m proud of you for…” or “You did a great job on…”
Check back next Monday for another way you can offer verbal affirmation.
-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach