Student barges into my office: “ I have a question. When is my mentor coming? I really miss her! I have some feelings I need to get out! ” Later that afternoon while meeting with her mentor, the hurt, anger, and confusion over parents who had recently separated poured out. Her mentor of two years was the safest person to trust with her deep feelings.
Doesn’t everybody need someone to talk to?
[ Building Resiliency ]
What is resiliency? Resiliency is “the capacity to bounce back, rebound, and successfully adapt in the face of adversity.” It’s the ability to bounce back from problems with more power and hope. As mentors, we have the opportunity to help build resiliency in students. Here are three ways you can build resiliency in your student:
- Be genuine…many students today think adults are fake. Being genuine means that we have to be committed to things like listening well, responding appropriately, and modeling empathy.
- Be a good listener…listen and don’t give advice unless they ask. One question you could ask your student: “Do you just want me to listen, or do you want my input?”
- Be an encourager…believe in them even when they don’t believe in themselves. Help them focus on attainable goals. Ask them questions like, “What do you want to change?” or “Who would you like to become?”
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.