Today’s parents and teachers, constrained by time and curriculum, find it challenging or impossible to fill the traditional role of models and mentors. Adults, let alone kids, find it hard to adapt to fast-changing values, systems and environments. Big Brother, Big Sister and other mentoring programs, as well as the youth/elder relationships in ethnic or “primitive” societies, demonstrate that young people gain stability, confidence, respect toward self and others, and respond positively as they connect with wise elders.
Many young people today operate in a contracted atmosphere. Although they may privately yearn to live according to high personal aspirations or outside their peers’ dreams, through entertainment, advertising and social mores they are encouraged to the negative and defiant or to predictability, unimaginativeness, and to blend in with the lowest common denominator.
Counterbalancing this with exposure to authentic, skillful elders who are willing to honestly explore issues and share lessons, mistakes, options and approaches from their life experience, can help teens access their feelings, confusions and questions and thus open them to higher awarenesses and broader possibilities about ways to live.
Most of us can think of people who have influenced us. Learning their stories can change our thinking, galvanize our actions, stimulate ideas, expand our sense of possibilities, encourage our perseverance, help us recognize our blessings and inspire our dreams.
Premise "Unquestionably," says Barbara, "many of my life choices and much of my courage derived from exposure to role models I’ve read about or met." When young people interact with authentic adults they are stimulated to open to and ask meaningful questions. When they hear stories of determination, risk-taking, vulnerability and self-awareness, they recognize those qualities in themselves and feel less isolated, weird or fearful. They also recognize the spark of courage and yearning in themselves, and are inspired to act on it.
Stories: Barbara Brewster's stories illustrate aspects of responding or not responding to life opportunities and lessons
Question/Answer – Group sharing/Dialoguing
Games: Circle, group, paired, milling, word, movement, and writing games Relate game experience to life experience
Note ways we block or promote creative energy and solutions.
Power of YES
Quotes, Reading and Video List
Summary of Results
Participants testify that:
they really enjoyed and were inspired by the session