IDEAS FOR HOW TO CONNECT WITH YOUR STUDENT
Let’s face it, mentorship may not feel inherently natural to everyone.
The great thing is that it is a learned skill. Here are some ideas to
help you get started on how to connect with students. We encourage you
to test out some of these ways to connect and see what works for you and
your student. After all, connecting is the first step.
- Text Message – set a calendar reminder for once a week or month and
send an encouraging note, quote or scripture verse.
- Eating Together – food is a good medium to hang out. Set up a breakfast,
lunch or dinner outing. Rotate places to visit. Make it an adventure to
explore new locations.
- Play – mentoring is not all about talking, one great way to bond
is through play. Play frisbee golf, throw the football, go to the batting
cage, bring a deck of cards, etc.
- Do a project or task – invite them along for a quick shopping trip
to pick something up. Or have them help with a project you’re working
on around the house.
- Go to a movie – look for a fun, upcoming movie and find a time to
watch it together. Use the car ride, or post-movie ice cream to discuss
the major themes of the movie.
- Dessert outing – go out for a quick ice cream or cupcake.
- Write a Letter – go old school and write them a letter. This can
give a different medium for discussion that has natural time break due
to postal delivery.
- Hiking adventure – get out into nature and go for a hike.
- Teach them a Life Skill – what might you be able to teach the student?
Consider the life skills you might be able to impart: checking the oil,
doing laundry, hammering a nail, playing golf, dealing with conflict,
grocery shopping, etc..
Make sure to make it regular. Plan out your calendar and set reminders.
Will you meet once a month? Will it be the same activity or mix it up?
If you text them, will it be once a month, week, or day?
CONVERSATION STARTERS FOR MENTORSHIP
It’s funny how the idea of spending time with an adolescent can feel
unnerving. It is a common human trait to feel uncomfortable around new
situations. We have questions like: “What should I say?” or
“How much should I ask?” or “What if they think I’m
a lame mentor?” Here are some tips on how to begin conversations.
Do something together – a good way to more naturally move into conversation
while developing relational trust is to do something together. Ex. Play
in the park, wash the car, throw a baseball, go shopping, etc.
Posture – consider the positioning and comfortability. Riding in
the car puts you both in the same direction. If you are out for coffee
or at a restaurant, find a place that is more open to the room so you
can also watch what is going on.
Words of praise – think through how you might lift up your mentee.
Use words like: well done, great job, awesome, or I’m proud of you.
Questions – ask questions that gets them sharing. Plan a few ahead of time.
Ask about an
“What’s a favorite/funny childhood story?”
Ask about his/her
“What’s something you enjoy doing?”
“Do you get along with your siblings?”
Ask about their
“Jesus said that heaven belongs to the children. Why would he say
When asking questions, make sure you have thought through your own answers.
Trust me, kids love to ask the same questions back to you.
It’s because they want to learn from you!
- “What’s been the best and worst of the past week?”
- “What did you think about the game?”
- If there is a new romantic relationship in his/her life, ask, “What
do you like about him/her the most and the least?”
- “If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?”
- “If you were stranded on a deserted Island and could only take 5
items, what would they be?”
- “If a zombie apocalypse happened right now, what would we need to
do first?” (I’ve always been amazed by how this conversation
can tell you a lot about a person’s values and thought patterns.
Also ask, “Who would you take with you?”)
If you’ve have a common interest in music, movies, etc, utilize
that connection, ask, “Did you see _________, yeah so why do you
think they ended it that way?”