Whether it is a single parent home, an unpleasant financial situation or a personal and health challenges, mentoring boys through harsh periods is considerably more difficult. Boys seem to have a mind of their own when growing up and while there has been numerous research suggesting that girls mature faster than boys, it has appeared to me in many of such cases that boys seem not to have the requisite motivation and are in fact reluctant to mature at the pace that they could.
Many of these boys seem to remain lax for long periods of time, unmotivated to pursue larger goals besides the daily routine and they often begin to flunk at school. I am sure that there are many reasons, but in my experience I have also found that they are often suffering from what I like to call a “utopian paradise syndrome”. What I mean is that their dreams are so big that they don’t have the motivation to reach for it, especially since you will have to start small anyway.
Some other boys may channel their frustrations into achievements and their drive can get equally scary to their parents , teachers or mentors, because they are both internally motivated by their hurt and internally advised.
Fact: everyone needs a certain basic environment to thrive, boys and girls alike, but in a society that expects the man to attain and places so much responsibilities and expectation on him in terms of achievements, the pressure can be damning on the young man, who finds a good education a distant dream or who needs to abandon his dream to support a struggling parent.
This will be my advice to such a boy:
1. Start Small… Start that Dream Small
Contrary to what many boys have settled for; life is not for the elite and the seemingly untroubled. Life is a free space and anyone that wills can have enough play room. It is said that the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.
Start that music class, start learning to program, one note at a time or one code at a time. If nothing else , Wang Deshun, China’s hottest grandpa has proven that once you can keep your dream, it will materialize if you are willing to take small steps.
2. Its Okay To Fail
One of the first places such troubles reflect is in school work, many of such boys find it difficult to focus on exams and essays. Failure is inevitable at some point, there is really no one who hasn’t failed at something at one time or the other, so its no use hiding behind your failure and making an excuse of it not to try again.
Worry and anxiety is one of the major reasons for repeated failure and stagnancy. I often advice boys to get all the help they can. Joshua Wang, one of the top writers for fastessay.com says that a large number of people that come to them for help with essays are people struggling with issues of focus.
Failure is an extreme result of personal troubles, it is unnecessary and can be avoided and where it has already occurred, then there are a few lessons in there somewhere to learn from.
3. Take Initiative
Opportunity is a friend that comes to everyone dressed differently. There is no one that doesn’t have an opportunity to make the best of their circumstance. Often times it may not come wearing a glamorous garb, but it takes a little bit of guidance to spot the right opportunities and to remain there till it works out.
4. Stop Blaming People
It doesn’t matter what you perceive the cause of the situation in your life to be. Blame has never caused progress, it may be a quick fix, but in the long run, it really has no permanent solutions rather than introduce more bitterness and strive.
Determine to look ahead and forget what happened; don’t live in the past, but hold on to what dreams you have left and dare to dream more.
5. Life Is a Game, Learn To Play
Your background doesn’t determine what you become, it will definitely contribute to your story, but only you can get to decide the direction of your story. Life is like throwing the dice at a board game and hoping to get a six. If you keep throwing you will get what you seek eventually.
6. Hold On To What Support You Have
Whether it is a struggling single mom or a struggling single dad or perhaps a crop of friends that still hang around, your blessings may not always be dressed in white. If you choose to push everyone away and not give back what care you get you will be alone and there are few things as de-motivating as loneliness.
Photo: Getty Images