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Helping young people - become a mentor... Brilliant article by Matthew Syed

Reading the Sunday times on 24th July it mirrored a conversation I had with a new parent on Saturday 23rd July. How strange I thought...

Matthew Syed piece can be found @Sunday times or on his twitter account

It is imperative to show children that winning and losing normal in life, that even as adults we have experienced this and it helps us cope with challenges and how to manage the good and the bad that occurs. When I teach I am happy to share my highs and lows in my learning path. Whether it be how I struggle at times with new skills I am trying to master, or trying to improve my fitness levels. Young people can learn as adults we have highs and lows in life and its the fact that we need to face the challenges. Recently a young person gave me a few tips on getting up hills, I reported back that I tried this and it worked. The smile I got given back was great, they felt listened to and I think they were surprised that I took on board what advise they gave me. Several times they have checked how I am progressing . :). Young people can inspire adults and we need to share this. Learning is a two way relationship.

That leads me to conversation I had with the new parent. They spoke to me about the caring for a very young child and expressed how it maybe difficult as the teenage years hit in regards to behaviour. They felt the respect towards their parenting maybe challenged a lot. I did say it can happen but I found in all my 40 years of working in childcare that if a child has an interest/sport/ hobby then normally they have a focus which can affect in a good way how they behave. It is important to find something they enjoy doing and that is not being alone in a room with a computer or just gaming. It enables the young person to have a routine, challenges them, the sense of achievement and learning to win & lose, plus social skills with their peers and adults around them. It is often about being part of a team. It gives focus, a regular activity and life long skills. Not all parents can give time due to many factors that inhibit the ability to do this, however there should be lots of establishments/ clubs young people can join to help them.

Matthew Syed piece looks at the new Freddie Flintoff TV series that takes children on a path of learning cricket but it shows how young people need an interest but be around people who believe in them. Often this is when an interest is taken up and those teaching the skills can become an important and often life changing person in their life's. I hope that when we are looking at helping our young people that one aspect that has declined in youth clubs will be reignited.

I still remember a teacher from School Mr Stockwin who really helped me by believing in my ability and it pushed my confidence to a new level. Never forgotten. That's how important believing in our young people is.

Great Article Matthew and hope many others working with children and young people read this.

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