Earlier this week, I had the new Ferndale coordinator shadowing me when a student came in to meet his mentor. While waiting for his mentor to arrive, I asked if he would like to tell her anything about Be the One. He said:
“My mentor helps me with everything—school and life.
Most of all, he cares and he thinks I’m worth something.”
As a student with a lot of ups and downs in his life, his mentor has been consistent presence for him—sticking with him even when he makes poor choices.
What does it mean to be an active listener? Active listeners give energy. They sit up straight. They take notes. They ask questions. They repeat or “mirror back” what they’ve heard to ensure it was understood properly. Active listeners provide non-verbal gestures (eye contact, nodding, etc).
Next time you are meeting with a student, try it. You’ll be amazed at how active listening can improve the conversation.
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.