How Do You Know Who You Can Trust?
Whenever there's a lecture
at school, or a TV show about a sensitive subject like sex or drugs, at the end they always say you should "seek out a relative,
a teacher, a clergy person, or an adult you trust" if you have more questions.
But "Who do I trust?" is a tough question to answer. Eventually
there comes a time when talking to your friends your own age isn't enough. Talking to your parents might seem scary, and you
need to find someone to confide in who will keep your best interests at heart.
used the trial and error method, and ultimately found Mr. and Mrs. Allen. I used to babysit for their kids. I chose them because
they treated me - well, not exactly like an adult - but they demonstrated in both word and deed (leaving
me in charge of their children) that they had faith in me. They seemed to genuinely like me and they were
interested in the part of my life that went on when I wasn't watching their boys. More importantly, they were the adult version
of who I hoped to be one day:
They were a little different
from everyone else in my homogeneous neighborhood, and unapologetic about it. They were secure people.
I know I was lucky. There were other adults around me that tried to mentor me, to give me advice or encourage
me to come to them if I was in need, but for whatever reason - fear of being judged, or fear they wouldn't respect my privacy
- I never felt as comfortable talking to them as the Allens.
How Can You Tell Who to Trust?First, I'd say go with your gut instinct. If a person seems to be trying too hard
to gain your favor, they may not have your best interest at heart. Do they seem cool because they think everything you do
is A-OK (a dangerous thing), or is it
because they really have their act together?
Here's a list of things you
might want to consider:
1. Do they have anything to lose or gain by your decisions?
2. Do they demonstrate a genuine interest in more than one aspect of your life?
3. Do you feel they respect you for who you already are? (This will translate
into respect for the person you are becoming.)
4. Do you respect
5. Do they live in a way you aspire to?
Do they have values similar to yours?
7. Do they have their act together,
or are they constantly fixing messes?
8. Do they have time for you, or at least consistently
make time for you?
9. Does your gut feeling say you can trust
10. Finally, ask yourself is this someone you genuinely like, or is it just
someone you want to like you? If you're eager to have the person like you, they may not make the best mentor because you'll
be tempted to go against your instincts to please them. Or, even more likely, you may not make a clear judgment about whether
they're going to respect you as a person or not.
If this person gets upset or disappointed when you don't follow
their advice, if they encourage you to skip steps, lie, or violate your own morals to resolve a conflict, then they probably
aren't the true emotional support that you're looking for.
Ideally a mentor will
help you learn how to trust yourself and refine your own decision-making and information-gathering
skills. In the end, remember that adults - even the ones who are good mentors and guides - aren't always right. Even though
their advice may be well intended, if it feels like the wrong thing for you to do, it very well may be.
WHAT IS A MENTOR?
"Every man has within himself a continent of undiscovered character. Happy is he who proves
the Columbus of his soul."- Goethe
WHAT IS IT? Mentoring--from the Greek word meaning enduring--is defined as a sustained relationship between a youth and
an adult. Through continued involvement, the adult offers support, guidance, and assistance as
the younger person goes through a difficult period, faces new challenges, or works to correct earlier problems. In particular,
where parents are either unavailable or unable to provide responsible guidance for their children, mentors can play a critical
A mentor is a special type of volunteer. A mentor is an individual committed to helping a student,
identified as an at-risk, and a potential dropout, get his/her life -- academically, socially,
mentally and physically -- back together. He is committed to expending the time and energy necessary to put the student on
the right track. The role of the mentor is multi-faceted. A mentor is a big brother/sister, role model, and most of all a
friend to the student. More specifically, a mentor must:
Be an effective listener.
In many cases, the mentor is the only person that the student has identified as the one who will listen to his concerns and
Help the student set short
and long term goals. Convey the idea to the student that if he fails to plan, he plans to fail.
Help the student identify
the positive things in his life (for example, hat he likes about himself or what things can he do well). Concentrate on his
strengths and use them as a framework for helping a student overcome his/her weakness.
Convey to the student
that there is always "hope" that his situation can be turned around, but that "hope" depends, to a large extent, on him/her.
Employ role-playing as
a technique for solving student’s problems. Put the shoe on the other foot (for example, place the student in the position
of teacher, parent, and so on…) when dealing with the student’s problem.
Help the student develop
personal interests outside of school.
Get involved with the
student. Try to commit one hour per week toward the student’s growth and development.
Help the student become
more involved in all aspects of school.
Help the student learn
where to go for help.
Be sincere and committed.
A student can sense when you are not being sincere or do not have his interests at heart.
Develop a level of trust
with the student. The trust relationship is of utmost importance is the relationship is to work.
Be a responsible role
model for the student who may not have other role models.
Be punctual. Always meet
the student at the scheduled times.
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