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Mentoring is priceless

Updated on July 27, 2011

Mentoring children

Teaching a child

Learning to feel comfortable in the presence of others is not always so easy and will take time but certainly can be achieved and will make a considerable difference in a child's life. It seems for some children there are barriers that prevent them from opening up and expressing themselves. Some kids are shy, other kids are handicapped or disabled and then there are the special needs kids. All kids, regardless of their background all need a chance to be heard and to feel good about themselves. It is hard for a kid struggling with self esteem issues to fit in and make friends. They tend to feel awkward and all alone and it is evident by their behavior. With these kids you have to really have lots of patience and a willingness to take them in under your wing and first listen to them and then spend some quality time with them. We all enjoy feeling appreciated and respected and that goes for young children as well. They have feelings and emotions and they need to be nurtured, loved and praised whenever possible.

Children are a precious gift and each child needs to know they are loved, accepted and capable of great things. I believe when a child feels alone and without friends they are extremely sad and feel despondent and this really needs to be taken very seriously. No child should feel left out. We need to embrace our children and teach them about life and what is to be expected of them. We need to show them the way and stand by them as they take steps in their young lives in trying new things and learning to mature, grow and become their own person.

For autistic children it can be a challenge in establishing social connections, accepting change, making friends and getting along in a structured setting. They tend to resist conformity and will generally express their frustration and get into trouble. They are good kids for the most part but they need a strong support system that constantly provides reassurance, encouragement, love and instills confidence, positive self esteem and hope. A role model to learn from is also essential in a young child's life and that is why mentoring is so important.

It is a special bond that exists between a child who needs to feel loved and understood and a mentor who recognizes this and is willing to spend time with the child and teach them and provide a way for them to communicate and open up. It is a wonderful thing to see a special needs child blossom like a beautiful flower and find comfort and learn to smile when they realize they can relate to someone and feel accepted. This is why friendships are so important in helping to build confidence and self esteem. No one wants to feel alone and be by themselves all the time. Autistic children are very special because they have so much potential and all they need is someone to recognize that and help them to bring it out.

I remember when I was a child growing up how hard it was to fit in and for me I was fortunate that someone stepped up and instilled in me confidence in learning to play baseball and join little league. My mentor was a young man in high-school visiting his sister, our neighbor and he spent an hour each Saturday with me one summer throwing a baseball. He recognized I had a talent and he taught me to believe that I was good enough and to have the confidence to sign up and play in little league. By his belief in me and the time he spent with me I was able to participate in a game I loved playing baseball, gain confidence, make friends and win two trophies for playing on a winning team and being voted the Most Improved Player. My mentor truly made a difference in my childhood as did my coach and my parents who stood by my side and cheered me on at every one of my games.

We know the importance of a mentor and we are very lucky that our son has two special mentors from the same family. A young lady who is in her first year of college and her brother who is a junior in high-school. Christine spends an hour with our son a couple of days a week after school where she plays board games like monopoly and scrabble and she engages him in conversation and reads stories to him. They have a special relationship and she is very good with him. I believe our son may even have a crush on her and she takes it in stride and loves spending time with him. Her brother Rahul also spends an hour with him on alternating days and does boy things with him like having a baseball catch and playing video games. They are wonderful young adults and they really are a godsend. We are very happy that they have opened up their hearts to spend some time with our son, an autistic child who really is a wonderful young boy who is going through some difficult times emotionally as a pre-teen.

Since he has these wonderful role models in his life he has made strides and we are grateful. The next hurdle is getting him to feel comfortable in the school environment and getting him to participate in activities he is interested in so he can meet kids his age and hopefully develop a couple of good friendships. We are also hopeful that he will make some positive connections in summer camp and have an enjoyable time and learn from the experience. We also realize that his camp counselor Jenn is a wonderful role model as well and we are very happy that she is working with our son and trying to help him to make connections and enjoy himself. We couldn't ask for anything more than that.

I believe that a mentor is one of the most important influences in a young child's life and no child is too young to have one. A mentor will help a child to believe in them self and to realize they do indeed belong and that they are important and should be heard. Mentoring is truly priceless!

I also try to provide time with my son and I always focus on having fun times together and taking him places he enjoys but I realize he also needs to be with kids his age and that is something we are working on and we have some work ahead of us but we love our son and will do all we can to help him. He is a great kid who just needs a little patience and understanding and I have a lot of that to give.

Matty, always remember you are not alone and we love you very much and are with you everyday.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Mentoring children of promise

Special teacher and mentor

Temple Grandin on mentoring

Comments

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    • profile image

      fashion 

      7 years ago

      Very good article about teaching children.

      well written

    • ediann profile imageAUTHOR

      ediann 

      7 years ago

      Yes, it is true how very important it is to listen to our kids and treat them with respect and allow them to express themselves. Mentoring is extremely important and you are absolutely right in what you say about the need to mentor our children. Thank you for your comment and your dedication to mentoring and coaching kids. You are making a difference and helping a child to feel good! God Bless!

    • HennieN profile image

      HennieN 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      I am a big fan of mentoring/coaching kids rather than controlling them. Your hub has provided soooo much evidence as to why we should mentor our kids.

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