Talk Like A Teen

I’ve written once before about a manifesto on ChangeThis. Today I found another entitled “How to speak a teen’s language, even if you’re not one“, which is likely to be of interest to those working with young people. The author, Josh Shipp, is a gifted speaker/communicator [preview video].

The manifesto has a section on empowerment which reminded me of the need to build up the young people we work with; to equip them with the skills they need to make it through life:

Have you ever been stuck with a problem on the computer, and someone swooped in and quickly fixed it without allowing you to figure out the steps? When you were stuck again in the future you would not know what to do. Teenagers are the same way with life challenges. If you swoop right in and fix it, they won’t be prepared in the future. Ask teenagers questions. Involve them in the process of discovering the right solutions. They can discover new skills to solve their problems. Give examples, but then be supportive as they trudge through the hard work. If you always tell them the answer to their challenges, they cannot discover it on their own, and the lesson won’t stick. Empower them with the steps to solve a problem and when you are no longer physically present, your words or the lesson you helped them see, will be there. It is about the process.

It ends with a list of last minute thoughts – here’s my favourite (emphasis mine):

Only talk as long as you can hold their attention. If you can hold them for twenty minutes talk for eighteen.

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