This week I heard a speaker, Dr. Kara Powell, talk about intergenerational mentorship in the hopes of securing spiritual faith for our children into their adulthood. Since this is not a blog about spirituality, necessarily, I want to focus on why I thought this is relevant to self-esteem and confidence in children.
Dr. Powell talked about the importance of a 5:1 ratio…five adults mentors to one child. She talked about how she learned of a 3rd grade homework assignment where the child needed to identify 5 adults that boy or girl knew with absolute certainty that they could count on.
At this point, I asked my husband “what would have it meant to you if there were 5 adults invested in your childhood?” That is not to say that he did not have 5 adults that wished him the best or wanted the best for him, but what would it have felt like to have 5 adults that made a conscious effort to be at every significant event of his life. My husband was profoundly struck and stated that it would have been an “unbreakable foundation.” Since I realize that we as human adults do the best we can with what we have, I have entitled it a child’s “Living Safety Net.”
I sat and thought of all the children I had the opportunity to mentor and felt like I was, but did that child know that? Children that I was completely invested in (besides the most amazing Isaiah) not because I simply got anything out of it, but because my life is richer for knowing them. This concept is at the core of developing self-esteem and confidence in children. To make a declaration to that child and their parents that you will support that child in everything they do. That means that child will never have a soccer game, spelling bee, Grandparents day, first day of school…etc. without at least 3-4 adults cheering them on. Not to give the children a false sense of self-importance, but to know that people care and are invested in their success!
Who wouldn’t want this for their own child? Well in order to ensure this for our own children, we have to be this mentor to other children. We need to take the time today to be that mentor to at least 3 children (that are not our own).
Let us think differently about how to support the children in our lives. I am asking you to identify 5 children that you know would thrive with your conscious presence in their lives. Once you think of those 5 children, I empower you to ask them to accept your investment in their lives. I caution you not to take this lightly. Children are sensitive and will come to expect your consistency and investment and if you are not prepared to follow through, you can do more damage than had you never been involved. However, if you are prepared to commit you will not only change a young life forever you will change yours in ways you never knew possible!! Are you ready?