A new young man comes in with a friend to request a mentor: He seems confident, articulate, a good looking kid who is involved in sports, seems to have friends, and is never in trouble at school. “What are you hoping for in a mentor?” He wants someone to talk to about all the stress he feels in his life, his passions, and stuff going on at home.
Students crave meaningful connection with adults.
[ Building Hope ]
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” -Helen Keller
Students today need real hope. The pecking order of teen culture leaves many students living somewhere on the edge of false hope or a very real feeling of hopelessness. Building real hope into students means helping them see beyond themselves and their circumstances. It’s guiding them to the light at the end of whatever tunnel they’re in and helping them see who they are in that light. Here are three ways you can build hope in your student:
- Be optimistic…students need people in their lives who believe in them and help them see both who they are, and who they can be.
- Be realistic…one way hope is built in a student is through personal achievement. You can help build hope in your student by working with them to set personal, achievable goals. The important thing to remember here is that they are realistic goals. Unrealistic goals only breed more hopelessness in a student, because they aren’t achievable.
- Be a cheerleader…your student will continue to experience highs and lows, successes and failures, achievements and missed opportunities. As a mentor, you can build hope in them by believing in them and cheering them on every step of the way.
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.