Billy* loved basketball but was not very good at it. His mentor, Tom, had played on his high school team. They would practice together for a little each week.
One day they were challenged to a game by two teenagers who were pretty good. The game went back and forth, and finally, Billy and Tom had the ball with a chance to make the game-winning basket. Tom had an easy lay-up to win the game but chose to pass the ball out to Billy for the final shot.
Billy later told me, no one ever trusted me like that. I think he really cares about me!
Many of the kids we work with have a low opinion of adults. They often feel that we can’t be trusted. They also feel that adults don’t think that kids can be trusted. They feel that adults have low expectations of them and think that they are rather useless.
Look for opportunities to break that paradigm.
Many of these kids suffer from low self-esteem and have been told directly or indirectly that they are losers and rejects. Find ways to build up and compliment even small achievements without being patronizing.
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