You Can’t Teach Them, If You Can’t Touch Them
While attending a seminar for counseling at-risk youth, I heard one of the speakers say the above. It rang so true then and continues to ring true today. I thought of all of the training and text that I had read prior to hearing this statement and none of it made as much sense as ‘Touching Them to Teach Them.’
Throughout the years being a Youth Counselor, Foster Parent/Teacher and a Teacher, I have learned that you have to ‘touch’ the youth to teach them. You have to be able to approach them like you are one of them and not like you are above them or superior. The youth are so much more receptive to listening to you and learning from you if you are one that shows them respect, shows interests in what they are interested in and if you show that you are respectful of them and their ideals and ‘youth’ issues.
As adults, no matter what role we are playing in the youths lives, whether parent, teacher, mentor, guardian, minister, counselor, we have to approach them with the state of mind that we want them to see us as a caring individual that understands their way of seeing things. We can’t approach them with ‘heady ideas’ of being more intelligent than they are or that we are the ‘know-it-ALL’ that will ‘show them,’ because they will notice your approach and not only turn their ear away but also disrespect you.
The youth want us to be interested in their concerns about life, understand and know what music they listen to, they’re extracurricular activities, have discussions with them about life and all that it entails. And, be ‘REAL’ with them, telling them the truth. They want us to talk to them and not ‘AT’ them. They long for us to have FUN with them! As the adults we should be aware of this because these are all things that we want and need from others that we meet or interact with day to day. We have to show the youth that we are genuinely there for them by being ‘genuinely’ interested in them and what they are interested in.
Some adults have the idea that they cannot stoop to the level of the youth to teach them or to guide them to a higher level of knowing. To those adults I say, “GOD stoops to our level every day. HE reaches from Heaven daily to reach down to us and bring us ‘UP’ to the level HE wants us to reach.” So, are you BIGGER than GOD? Who are you to say you can’t stoop to a lower level for a minute amount of time to lift the youth higher?
Adults, the youth, the generations after us, need our guidance and teaching and we can only teach them and press upon them ‘higher learning’ if we reach out and touch them. So, whatever role you are playing in a youth’s life and I hope that you are playing a role in some youth’s life, somewhere, because the YOUTH includes ‘YOU’ and remember…
“You Can’t Teach Them, If You Can’t Touch Them!”