Sunday, April 22, 2007

be a positive presence

there's been a few situations lately that has confirmed one of my core beliefs when it comes to working with teenagers. and that is that any adult can be a "positive presence" in a kid's life. it's actually a lot easier than you might think.

for a lot of adults, the teenagers of today are scary and thought to be avoided. but what many don't know is that teenagers are actually craving adults in their lives. especially as they move towards the end of their high school years and into adulthood.

it seems as we move from one generation to the next, the teenagers have less and less interaction with adults. our communities get smaller, families are more fractured, and more adults are concerned more with their own agendas. the result of all this is that teenagers feel abandoned and therefore close ranks and give the illusion that they don't care what the adult world thinks of them and doesn't want them around.

but that's really not what's going on (for the most part). as teens grow older, they know they need to fit into society as an adult. but a lot of them are unsure of how to do this or are afraid they won't fit in. so, even tho they can't articulate this, they want and need adults around to teach them and to let them know that they're doing ok.

so the next time you have the chance to be around a teenager, don't think of them as some kind of alien to your world. look at them as a young learner - eager to soak up your knowledge and wisdom. i say that a little hesitantly because it's also very important in how you present that knowledge and wisdom. it should be done in a caring way through some kind of easy-going relationship. maybe i'll write more about that later.

just remember the words, "positive presence." just by being that in a young person's life will teach them more than either of you can imagine.

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