It’s not always easy being a teenager and Tylina and William Havle can attest to that. They understand the confusion, the stress and peer pressure that teens often endure.
The Havle’s are raising six children of their own and have become strong advocates for teen mentoring. They are Sunday school teachers at Believers Church in Sylvania, Georgia.
Tylina said, “Teens matter and to raise a healthy teen, it is essential to have people in their life, (other than just parents). People who are willing to listen to them, to spend time with them, and to be an encouragement to them. It does take a village to raise a child and that is where teen mentors come in.”
As teens, the Havle’s admit that they dismissed much of what their parents had to say simply because it came from their parents. Not that they didn’t love their parents, but because they didn’t feel that their parents really understood. That is why they believe in mentoring. The fact is, sometimes it takes a neutral person to speak into a teens life.
William said that he feels strongly that as adults they have a responsibility to encourage the youth of today and if not the responsibility than the privilege to do so. Whether it be to encourage a teen to study harder, to be more respectful or simply to believe in themselves. This type of positive influence can inspire a teen.
After all, teens are our future, so why not invest in them. Teens need someone they can vent with, someone to encourage them and to guide them when they don’t always feel that they can talk to their parents.
A teen mentor can be a grandparent, a youth leader, a soccer coach or an instructor. These individuals should be people that you trust and those that have a good reputation.
The benefits of being a teen mentor are priceless. Many mentees find that when they have caring adult mentors in their lives, their grades go up, they feel more secure with themselves and the added benefit is that it is always nice to know that they have someone in their corner rooting for them.
Here are a few things that a mentor can do in the life of a teen:
- Plan a project for school
- Set career goals and start taking steps to realize them
- Make healthy choices about day-to-day life, from food to exercise and beyond
- Take them fishing
- Invite them over to bake cookies, watch a movie and to let the teen vent
Letting a teen know that they are cared about is the key. It doesn’t take much, just a few hours a month can make an impact.
The Havles have a vision and that vision is to spread the good news – Teens aren’t bad! Teens have some great ideas, some wonderful talents and are full of life and yes, every now and then they need to be redirected. But, most important, successful mentoring can cultivate some wonderful friendships.
Help a teen, invest in their lives by becoming a sounding board and a friend. Face it, teens do not want someone to preach to them, but they do need someone to remind them every now and then what the practical truths are.
Mentoring is an investment into the future, our future. Get a hold of a youth organization in your area and see what you can do to enrich the life of a teen. It is a myth that teens are nothing but trouble.
Mrs. Havle said, “Hey, we were all teens once and we made it, but we couldn’t have become the person(s) we are today without some encouragement, friendship, and advice here and there.”