A Wise & Trusted Counselor

A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could. ~ Unknown

Can you remember a time when someone gave you support, or important counsel, sound advice or positive reinforcement on something you were doing?

Encouragement is an important support and guidance motivation given by a more knowledgeable person (such as a mentor) in helping a less experienced or knowledgeable person (mentee) to develop in some capacity.

Many times, parents are mentors. They have the experience and know-how in “How the World Turns”. They may have gone to college, experienced love relationships, had children, bought houses, paid taxes, and countless other things.  Hopefully, they are good mentors who encourage, support and guide their children in their everyday challenges.   Sometimes, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or  family members are mentors.  They are the ones to go to when one needs to know what can be done about a special issue; they either give good advice or advise options on how to work at it.   We are indeed blessed if we have mentors in our lives.

What if we don’t have a mentor? There are many occasions when ‘two heads are better than one’ and additional input is needed. How does one acquire a mentor? Are there different avenues or vehicles for finding one?   Yes, there are.

There are personal mentors and organizational mentors.
How can a  personal mentor help you?    Sometime during your lifetime, someone may take a special interest in how you are accomplishing a task or trying to.  It may be in a teacher or principal in school.  It could be a leader or coach in an activity in an athletic or after-school activity. Or a girl or boy scout leader in a social club. Or perhaps a pastor or spiritual leader in a church affiliation.   It could be a family member who has the same interests or experiences in what you are trying to master – a job interview;  which courses or schools you could attend to pursue a career; what career choices would you be best suited for.

A mentor is usually someone older and more accomplished in the task you are endeavoring. He/she will give you feedback on how you are accomplishing so far;  give you advice or hints/solutions on how to continue;  or reinforce how you are progressing. This is a one-on-one relationship which lasts over the time of the task’s duration.

You might even seek someone out and ask them to be your mentor on a task.  It doesn’t hurt to ask. Most people like to help and may feel honored that you chose them.  If the person is agreeable, you could set up a schedule to go over the progress of what you are doing and the mentor can advise plusses and minuses. Depending on the personalities, this person could become a life-long mentor who can aid you in further tasks.  Sometimes it evolves into a mentoring over a variety of life’s issues. Such an arrangement can benefit both the mentor and the mentee.   And form a special, honored life-time relationship.

Marie Coppola  August 2019

School is Re-Opening

The first day of school for Horry County students is Monday, August 19.   In the past, I covered some suggestions for students returning to middle school; today I will focus on the teens.

Whatever the grade or year,  the upbeat reason to return to school is to acquire wisdom, knowledge, and skills that will allow creativity and thought-provoking processes as well as behavioral and social experiences.  These can be sometimes challenging and/or frustrating — but it can also be fun times with clubs, sports, class trips, and special activities.  Also on the plus side, there are friendships formed that can last a lifetime and even short friendship spurts that teach versatility and diversity in getting along with others.  Having a  ‘special’ teacher can be an influence or mentor in future endeavors.

Guidelines and rules for school behavior are similar to those that students’ parents may have had, but here’s some extra tips to return to school starting with a really good attitude. I offer the following – for the returning students.

1) “Rules” cover a multitude of guidelines that all schools set forth for their students. Everyone must follow them if there is to be order and learning. Rules are important because you will be asked to follow rules all your life.  And it causes stress and problems if you don’t abide by them. This is as true in school as it is in your life now or will be in your adult life.

2) You will follow rules better if you have plenty of rest.   You will succeed better in school.   Try to have at least eight hours of sleep on a school night.   This is especially true if you have after-school clubs or sports and need that extra energy.

3) Speaking of extra energy, eat a healthy breakfast (yes, you have the time) to last until lunchtime.  Even some fruit, cereal or a protein bar  will help.   If you don’t like the lunches, pack a sandwich or snack.

4) Using cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices are usually strictly prohibited during the school day. Yes, that includes texting. Cell phones are distracting not only during class but in the halls.  If you can’t control yourself – then leave them home or silenced.  An extra thought on cell phones:  I’ve noticed with  my teen visitors this summer – they stay on their cell phones way into the night (undercover) and have trouble getting awake in the morning.   You can’t sleep until noon when you are going to school.   If you can’t resist – shut them off and leave them in another room.

5) Although we all get colds or sick, try to attend class regularly and be on time. It is important to ‘keep up’ with new lessons and equally important to be on time so that your tardiness does not take away from class time.  Besides, it will affect  your school record which won’t matter to you now but may in the future.

6) Do your homework and check it twice. Homework done hastily or while playing video games can affect your grade if it is incorrect. Give it your best efforts – it reflects who you are and what you know and how you express it.   Prepare a place to do your homework; prepare what you are wearing the next day; and if you are making your lunch, prepare it at night so you won’t be rushing to get the bus or that ride early in the morning.

Hint:  How you set up a schedule of what you are expected to do (when & how)  will help you when you are looking for a job after graduation.   Being prepared  will naturally assist you in your work habits and style.

7) Try to be friendly to all. Avoid ’cliques’ or being rude to other students who may be different. It can escalate to bullying or cyber bullying or discrimination which are detriments to all.   Two out of three kids who are bullied become bullies themselves.  Worse yet, a bully is 6 times more likely to be incarcerated by age 24.   Tell your parents or the school admin if you are being bullied; they will come to your aid.

If you follow the rules, you can have a pleasant learning experience that will prepare you for adult life.  If there are situations that arise that are against school rules or are questionable in safety to you or others, don’t hesitate to notify a teacher or the principal. They want everyone in their school to have a safe environment.

I added this next thought for the middle school and will here, too.  ‘Take a  slogan from the Army — Be All That You Can Be.’ It doesn’t mean living up to anyone else’s standards or trying to get a better grade than Amy, Juan or Tawanda – it’s  simply doing the best work you can to your ability and being the best kind of person you want to be.   It’s all up to you.  Have a great and successful school year.

© Marie Coppola, August 2019