One of the activities I enjoy very much is being a Mentor. I have had the privilege of mentoring secondary school and post-graduate students. For several years I also coached specifically youngsters and parents. The coaching and mentoring have also enabled me to remind myself of what it was like to be a young person. Even though I now concentrate on working with adults, I always bear in mind that how we deal with being adults, start when we are young – so it is imperative that we remember what it is life like for young people.
I love the following note and often read it as a reminder:
Notes On An Unhurried Journey – by Professor T. Ripaldi
When we adults think of children, there is a simple truth which we ignore; childhood is not preparation for life; childhood is life. A child isn’t getting ready to live; a child is living. The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question: “What are you going to be?” Courageous would be the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face, would say, “I’m not going to be anything; I already am.”
We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark, for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active participating and contributing member of society from the time he is born. Childhood isn’t a time when he is moulded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation.
How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice. How much we would teach each other… adults with the experience and children with the freshness. How full both our lives could be.
A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him; for, after all, life is his and her journey too.