Sunday, June 1, 2014

Teenagers are awesome.

Hi there!  Today I'm over on Becky Higgins' blog as part of her "Good Life" series.  It's a great series of wonderful ideas, and inspiration.  Be sure to head on over there and check it out.

As I was trying to think about what I wanted to share, I kept sorting through several ideas but this one kept coming back to the front of my mind.  The word mentor just kept reappearing. So it got me thinking both about the people who've mentored me along the way, as well as the times where I've possibly been a mentor to someone else.

I've literally been teaching since I was 15...mostly piano lessons, but over the years, I've spent time in front of a couple of college classes, parent-tot classes, public school classes and now at an all boys private Jesuit high school.

1300 boys, grades 9-12.  It's loud and yes, it's smelly.....particularly after lunch when they've all been playing intramural sports.

They were stone faced the entire time.
It took me a while to notice our "new" student. 
Maybe it's just me, but this prank was
hysterical.

Teenagers are an interesting bunch.  They are really caught in a weird place.  They are given much more responsibility than when we were teenagers 20 years ago.  One thing that hasn't changed about teenagers and society's view of them is that teenagers get a bad rap.

So when I tell people that we took 60 guys to California for a music festival, I get lots of "Ha. How'd THAT go?"  And you know what?  It was AWESOME.  I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't on high alert when we pulled out of the parking lot in that bus, but as the weekend went on, their true colors shone brightly through.

These guys humored this old lady and rode rides with me all day.
They are awesome.
They were respectful. They obeyed their curfew. They helped each other out when there was a medical emergency at Disneyland. Not a single one of them was late, ever. And now I know what you're probably thinking.....60 choir kids....of course the choir nerds were good, they're....well....choir nerds. But here's the thing....THEY'RE NOT. They are some of our top notch athletes in the state.  They are some of the smartest  kids in the state now heading to Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame, Boston College, Stanford....They come from all walks of life, families, and have all sorts of varying interests.

And that's what got me thinking....

By taking some time to cultivate a love of music in these boys, we've made it place where they can participate and learn and grow without fear of being labeled a choir nerd.  Many of them come back years later and tell me they're still singing, or that Honor Chorale was their favorite class because of the way it united a group of boys that otherwise might not interact a whole lot outside of that class.

The thing with working with teenagers is that the biggest part of the job is just being there. Knowing they have someone in their court makes all the difference. It's an awesome responsibility and a privilege to be a part of their formation before they head off into the world.

Mentoring is awesome. There are so many different ways of having a positive impact on someone's life. Maybe that new mom could use a more experienced mom in her court....Maybe the senior center has some folks who could use a friend...Maybe a family is having trouble with their teen and could use an outside positive influence...The rewards YOU will receive from investing in someone else are endless and it's one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had.
Some of our Seniors heading out to college in the fall.
EVERY single of these boys was shorter than me 4 years ago.
so. proud. of. them.

Thanks for popping over to my little part of the world.  I hope you'll drop by again soon!


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