Empowering our Youth: Be the Mentor!

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How do you know your children are well prepared for their adult lives? Let me focus here on adolescents but the same can be said about those who are younger. As well try to be the best parents we can be, we hope that by sending them to school, enrolling them in activities, making sure their needs are met and trying as much as possible to listen to them and be there for them. But how do we know we are preparing them to the best of their abilities? Well, let us go through what they need to learn to become successful adults. And by successful, I mean across all phases of life: Health and wellness, career and family.

Literature and extensive professional experiences show that when teenagers take ownership of their own lives in a positive way and are confident in their appropriate decision making and action steps, they become the cornerstones and successes of the present and the future. To do so, they need to develop the following abilities:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-esteem and confidence
  3. Leadership
  4. Compassion and empathy
  5. Sense of responsibility towards themselves and others
  6. Focus and clarity
  7. Professionalism
  8. Healthy living

These qualities need to be enhanced and cemented to become core competencies of our youth and to be able to withstand the test of time, peer pressure, situations and obstacles. As with adults, these qualities, whereas they may be inherent in all of us, need to be taught, nurtured, practiced and fortified. I will only discuss their health for now. The other qualities are for a different time.

One of the best ways or approaches to achieve those goals is through mentoring. And who better to mentor their kids than you. And to mentor, the best possible way is to show by “walking the walk”, so to speak. We can all tell our youths how they are supposed to live. We want them to live healthy and develop healthy habits. So, do you practice what you preach? Think about every time you want to give a piece of advice to your children. Are you setting an example for them or do you ask something from them that you do not do? Do you eat healthy? Do you exercise? Do you live in a healthy way?

Knowing your situation and your family, you are probably extremely responsible and take care of your family to your best of your abilities. And I am sure they know their moms give it their all. As they say in Arabic: “A mother is sacrifice”. What is more important to trach them though is how to take care of themselves. And in order to do so, you should be taking care of yourself. Are you? I am harping on this topic because it is the base of everything we do or want them to do. We have to start with health and wellness. And it has to start with us. Like everything else, mentoring is through mirroring! Think about when you go to your doctor. If he or she tells you to lose weight and they are overweight, how less likely are you to listen to them? If they smoke and tell you not to smoke, how much less likely are you to acknowledge their advice?

So, keep the following points in mind:

  1. Be the change you seek or the qualities you wish in them.
  2. Take care of yourself at all levels
  3. Once you do, you become and inspirational and motivational force.
  4. Mastery of wellness and health is mastery of self-care.
  5. “Self-care can be defined as a way of living that incorporates behaviors that enable one to maintain personal health and balance, replenish energy and motivation, and grow as a person.”
  6. Self-care/wellness is the single most important factor that will facilitate and enable …your life and theirs!

So next time you want them to clean their rooms, make sure yours is clean. You want them to eat their healthy foods, make sure you are doing the same. If you want them to go to bed early, be their example. Exercise loves partners. So, try to work out with them. There is so much to teach our youths. But nothing is more important that their health. And no one is more important than you to teach them. Be their role model!