Mentor Tip: Teen Relationships with Adults

Send this message to the mentors only.

Subject: Mentoring tips on teen relationships with adults

Successful people often report that while they were growing up, they had positive, supportive relationships with a few adults—relatives, neighbors, teachers, church members, and other mentors. Successful young people and adults with disabilities made the following comments about the value—personal, social, spiritual, academic, and professional—of their positive relationships with adults. You'll hear more in my next message to the whole community. Think of what you can contribute to this conversation that would be beneficial to our younger participants.

  • My mother has always encouraged me to do better in all aspects of my life. It doesn't matter whether it's academic, physical, or art. I am visually impaired, and I am also a great artist. I am thinking about starting an art magazine in my senior year of high school, and my mother backs me up one hundred percent. She sees that I have a vision problem, and she understands the difficulties I have. But she encourages me to do things even when it is hard. (high school student who has a visual impairment)
  • Besides my parents, there have been two adults who influenced me personally, socially, and academically. They helped me overcome my disability and become who I am today. They transformed a reclusive person who didn't believe in himself into a driving, determined individual who is confident and who can handle adversity. The first of these adults I met in the beginning of eighth grade when I first lost my sight. He was a paraprofessional. A "para" is someone the Board of Education gives to students who need someone to help them with mobility and/or note taking. I needed someone to help me with both. When I first met him, I was nervous, apprehensive. I was just getting used to the fact that I had lost my sight. I was shy and reticent. Between class assignments he and I would talk about life and his experiences. He taught me a lot about people and how they can act. He became the brother I never had, someone I could trust. He left me a better person than I was when we first met. (high school student who has a visual impairment)
  • My parents have always been encouraging. They never let me take the easy way out. Developing a positive relationship with an adult is important because as a kid, your knowledge and experience is limited. (college student with a mobility impairment)
  • A couple of years ago I met a woman who has a little vision and is very interested in genetics. We first met because of these reasons. However, our relationship has since grown amazingly. We can talk about many things, commiserate, laugh, and just enjoy being with each other. She pushes me, too, but she also listens to me. She is no longer just a mentor but a good friend, and while I don't always agree with the things she says, I always think about them. (college graduate who is blind)
  • When I was in third grade, I was just beginning to understand what my learning disability was and how it would impact my life. I was extremely frustrated academically because everything was so hard. I just did not get it. Sometimes I would think that I was just stupid. Having a special tutor was the best thing to happen to me then. She knew that I was intelligent and she showed me that. She not only helped me make a quantum leap academically, but she also discovered who the real me was. When I first came to her, I was sad, angry, and frustrated. From her I learned not only a sense of self and an academic confidence but also an MO (modus operandi) for life. Hard work does pay off. And yes, I will succeed. (high school student with Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder)