Nearing Graduation

June 6, 2016

Presented by Valvisions’ Director, Kenya; Grace Wandia

A wise philosopher once said that ‘you can’t step into a flowing river twice since by the time you step into it the second time, the water that you stepped into the last time will have moved on.’

Unbelievably, our Kenya girls are in their final year of high school.  In November of this year, they will graduate and hopefully, achieve the grades necessary to earn a place in the local universities.

nearing-graduation01It has been a tremendous four years for me as I have mentored and walked with these girls through this part of their lives’ journey. These girls came out of an environment of total uncertainty about their place in the world to what and where they are now: beautiful flowers, full of confidence, looking forward to life with great enthusiasm and hope….. What have I personally learned from this journey, so far?

nearing-graduation02At Valvisions Foundation, through the help of the Helen Valverde Scholarship Fund, we offer full scholarships to girls who are at risk against FGM.  I have come to realize that we, as leaders, involved in a movement to hopefully, help better the world, are required to exercise forward- thinking.  It seems essential that we look to see ‘where this generation is heading’ as well as to understand ‘where they are presently rooted.’ We deal with a dynamic group of teenagers who are hungry for information.  With the current influx of sophisticated gadgets that can access the Internet, information ‘of any kind’ is accessible to them in seconds. We, therefore, need to work towards ensuring that we ignite a new level of effectiveness by which to engage a generation which is ‘information flooded but relationship starved.’

Keeping boredom out of the mentorship relationship and ensuring a positive learning interaction demands both strategy and creativity.  In mentorship, with more strategy involved at the front-end, it seems, the more creative and positive the end results.

nearing-graduation03The ages of 15-17 is often referred to as the Middle Adolescence Stage; this stage can be devastating.  It often represents, for the teen, a time to break away from parental restrictions, the time when a child demands independence and fights against parents who they think lacks understanding.  A successful navigation of this stage of life may well depend upon the relationship between teen and parent, one, for example, which has already been  favorably established. Mutual respect, love and concern for others are values that if instilled at an early age, will hopefully help ‘still  some of the waters,’ at this often, very turbulent stage. It is important that a teenager’s emotional needs for love, understanding, support and guidance, be met. Love, of course, being the greatest emotional need for each one of us.

This generation appears to be looking for someone to help them cultivate positive character without judgment. Bashing and tongue lashing does not necessarily, if at all, lead to anyone wanting to better their character, this generation in particular. Empathetic communication, moral support, and a powerful moral example are some of the best tools at a mentor’s disposal to help impact and deepen a desire for improved character.

As a mentor to these girls, I have learned, amongst many other things, to try my best to be patient, day in and day out, in an effort to ensure I personally demonstrate character worth emulating.

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