With each school shooting, with the news of yet another suicide, parents, clergy and youth workers are reminded of the rise in teen mental health issues. And beyond what we see in the media or other reports, for most of us, we have seen it play out first hand in our own lives, some of us on a smaller scale, and some of us in the worst of ways. Anyone with a teenager in their life cannot ignore the high stakes before us.
As Parents, You Worry
As you watch your teenager retreat to her bedroom or observe the anxiety overwhelming him, you may fear the worst. Maybe your child is lonely. Maybe you struggle to get her to communicate with you. Maybe there is a constant state of overwhelm and your kid doesn’t know how to articulate what he is experiencing to you. Maybe your daughter doesn’t have any close friends, or your son struggles to find the energy to go through his daily routine. Whatever the scenario, if you’re like most of us, you likely wonder, “is this normal teenage behavior or is something deeper going on?”
The reflections of parents, clergy, youth workers, and young adults echoed the studies that we have read. Mental health is definitely a prevalent issue for teens in our Orthodox Church, and most notable – very few of our parents, clergy, and youth workers report feeling very equipped to walk with our teens through these struggles.
If you are interested in some of the specific results of our survey, keep reading!
The concept of the MasterMind was formally introduced by Napoleon Hill (you may know him as the guy who wrote the timeless business classic “Think and Grow Rich”) in the early 1900’s. Hill defined the MasterMind principle as:
“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
In other words, a MasterMind group is a type of peer advisory board, where members of the group come together to tap into the experience and skills of each other, to provide instant and valuable support, to problem solve and encourage each other who have like-minded goals.
In a MasterMind, each person’s participation is key. Your peers give you feedback; you brainstorm possibilities, you share best practices and even set up accountability structures that keep you focused and on track with your goals. MasterMinds create a community of supportive colleagues who will innovate together to move the persons in the group to new heights. It’s like having a totally objective board of directors and partners in a shared endeavor.
As our team at Faithtree Resources has hosted dozens of coaching calls, collaborative online workshops, teachings and group studies over the last two years, we have learned that formalizing those efforts and raising the bar to the next level will be a catalyst to better serve you, our audience, and in turn, Orthodox Christian parishes throughout the world.
An article recently crossed my desk about the 75-Year Harvard Study on Adult Development that has some powerful findings. This study started in 1938 to track the health of 738 men and has continued and expanded since then. Their goal was to study human health over the lifespan to understand what leads to a healthy and happy life.
Whether you’re a priest, a youth pastor, a parent, a coach, a mentor, a Sunday School teacher, or a volunteer chaperone, I know your passion is making a positive difference in the lives of our kids by helping make the Church their safest and happiest place to be.