Developing Our Inner Mr. Miyagi

by Stars Training Academy   4 Comments

mr-miyagi-the-karate-kid-630-75I love films that depict inspirational mentors of youth.  Movies such as Stand and Deliver, Coach Carter and Dead Poet’s Society, all show the crucial influence that engaged adults can exert in the lives of young people.  But Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid really stands out for me.  Mr. Miyagi is there for his mentee, Daniel, when he needs him most; he teaches Daniel important skills (“wax on/wax off”); and believes in Daniel’s strengths and ability to eventually kick butt and succeed.

Mr. Miyagi (or insert your favorite movie mentor here) can serve as a great example for TAY staff endeavoring to teach and provide in-vivo coaching to youth and young adults.  TAY youth often desperately need a teacher, a role model or life coach.  I’m always moved by the heart-felt stories that TAY staff share about their real-life teachers, coaches and supervisors that they so often emulate.  “They saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” is a commonly expressed theme.

Becoming an effective mentor seems to require a lot of wisdom.  Knowing when to push and challenge, and when to protect and praise can be key.  Mentors maintain high expectations and believe in their mentees’ resilience and goals – even when the mentee (and many others) do not.  They seem to know when to do for (model); when to do with, and when to let them do for themselves.  Recognizing and delivering these different levels of teaching can be very challenging.

When we recall the mentors in our lives, what they taught us, how they were there for us – we remind ourselves of this higher calling.  Staff often report that they seek to pass along to others what was provided to them at a vulnerable age.

Who were your Mr.Miyagis (real and fictional) and what did they teach you?

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