Friday, 27 November 2015

it's not the problem, it's how we deal with it

nothing good ever comes easy

This week's #Friday Reflection is: "Reflect about or champion a cause close to your heart"

I thought I'd write a little bit about how things are going with the little boy I mentor through a program called Kids Hope. This is a program that links a church with a local primary school and the school chooses children who would benefit from some one to one time. The church provides the volunteers, who each get matched up with a child for an hour every week. A small amount of time that can make a real difference in that child's life.

I mentioned a while ago that I've started mentoring a boy named Blake. He's nine years old, and a really nice boy but he has the need for instant gratification common to his generation. We often do a little craft activity that I pick up from the local $2 store and some of them can be quite tricky. He wants to give up if it doesn't fit together on the first try. I keep telling him that "good things don't come easy" - you have to figure it out and it will eventually turn out fine. 

He's always really chuffed when we get it all sorted (sometimes it can take three or four attempts to get the pieces in the right place) and he loves that he accomplished something that he was ready to give up on. I've also noticed that he takes a little longer each time before he starts telling me I wasted my money and it's not going to work. He's starting to grasp the concept that you have to put some effort in if you want results.

Blake is a small reflection of what a lot of people are like nowadays - they get faced with a problem and they give up or let it defeat them. He says he's bad at Math - really he just doesn't want to take the time to work a problem out - he wants to guess or give up. Neither is an option so we have to work through the process to come up with the right answer (while I add the positive reinforcement.)

We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.

One of the many lessons I've learned is that life will always throw up the occasional (or sometimes regular) problem. We lose a job, we lose a loved one, our dog gets run over by a car, our child does poorly at school, our mother comes to live with us, and so the list goes on. We can choose to lie down and let the problem win while we feel sorry for ourselves, or we can accept that life sucks sometimes and that dealing with problems is what makes us resilient. Resilience is one of the best gifts (along with gratitude) that life can teach us - it makes us better human beings and it gives us the skills to take on life's challenges and come out the other side.

I tell Blake that good things don't come easy, I want him to build that resilience so that he can face problems and difficulties with a "can do" attitude, rather than throwing his hands up in the area and declaring defeat at the first hurdle. I think he's taking it all on board and if my hour a week with him can provide some extra life skills to help him become a stronger person then the whole Kids Hope program has been worth every second of my time. It's nearly the end of the school year, but I'm already looking forward to what next year holds for me in the school.


22 comments:

  1. What a Beautiful post Leanne. You must feel a great warmth inside knowing you are being part of forming Blake's future. He is lucky he had you xx

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    1. thanks Sue - it's such a simple thing but it's nice to know that it makes a difference.

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  2. What a lovely thing to do. There's nothing more wonderful than mentoring a young person.
    Carol

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    1. It has been a bit of a surprise to me that I have enjoyed it so much Carol (never saw myself as a mentor - especially to a boy!)

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  3. We can all learn and benefit from the lessons Blake is learning. Living a happy life is all about resiliance and accepting challenges and change. Doesn't mean you have to like it though. Good work with a young person, Leanne. An inspiration!

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    1. thanks so much Molly - it's a nice feeling when I see him each week and an added blessing to think that it is actually making a difference for him.

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  4. What a brilliant thing you are doing. The lesson that 'things don't come easy' is hard to teach and hard to learn, but it is so important. It is really the basis for absolutely everything, isn't it? Bravo, you.

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    1. thanks so much Lisa - I think I'm learning the lessons with him sometimes!

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  5. This is great! You're teaching some wonderful life lessons here. I've had to remind myself of this when faced with harder situations. I touched on this exact thing on my most recent blog post. Keep mentoring Leanne!

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    1. thanks Laurie - I think my math and craft skills are improving along with the life lessons!

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  6. What a gift you are sharing with this little boy - teaching our children how to ride out life's challenges is the most powerful of messages.

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    1. it's been a really easy but rewarding journey Jennifer and I'm pleased that it's been so worthwhile

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  7. I find it a very nobel thing to do, Leanne. And you're right, we can't go through life without facing challenges. So we better make sure we have the right skills and don't abandon on the first attempt. Great story!
    xx Abby

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    1. thanks Abby - I think I enjoy it as much as he does (most of the time) and it's nice going back to spending time with a child that age - especially because it's only for an hour!

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  8. What you are doing is just so beautiful Leanne! Learning how to deal with things is a very important life skill and its nice to see people passing it on (or trying to!)

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    1. thanks Janine - I think it's not something that kids are good at these days and it's a really important life skill.

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  9. Wonderful, Leanne! You are teaching him skills he will be grateful to have! I wish someone could have taught the same skills to a former family member. When things didn't go right, he merely blew his stack and everyone else made the problem go away. Magic! Thus at the age of 32, he was still emotionally 6. If only he'd been taught . . .

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    1. perseverance and resilience are getting harder to come by these days. I hope the time spent with Blake gives him a firmer grasp of these because they are so important as you get older (you 32 year old is a classic example!)

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  10. Leanne, what an awesome program and what a lucky little boy to have you add to his life skills like that. Lessons for all of us too. Thanks so much for your contributions to Fridays Blog Booster Party. I am looking forward to seeing you at the Blogger's Pit Stop rally on Friday with more of your posts.
    Kathleen

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  11. After reading your comment from Kathy's post I felt like reading your post; loved the way you presented your post on learning to be resilient; appreciate the work you are doing and thanks for sharing !

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    1. thanks so much for stopping by and for your encouragement :)

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  12. What a terrific thing you are doing! I agree though if we give up every time something gets difficult what a boring, unfulfilled life we would lead. I'm sure these lessons will resonate with him for a lifetime.

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