The hubby and I binged the latest season of Cobra Kai over two nights.
The Netflix hit series continues the story of The Karate Kid movies 35 years later.
I never watched the films but the show resonates with me, because it tells a compelling coming of age story.
The aspect of the story that resonates with me is when the youth characters – often troubled but full of potential – find a new path through the mentorship of the adult characters, who are also looking for redemption.
Thinking about T, a boy with great potential and challenging needs, you can see how I think about my hopes and fears for his future when I watch the show.
Every youth can benefit from a mentor.
A mentor is described as a caring and responsible adult who can help improve the well-being of a youth by serving as a role model to support their academic, personal and social wellbeing.
In T’s current daily life, he has many mentors – teachers, child and youth worker, daycare staff, and of course, the hubby and I.
Even at age 5, the hubby and I already see and anticipate some of the challenges he’ll have as he comes of age – emotional regulation, academics, maintaining friendship, etc.
A mentor is not a fix-all solution but they can help guide T along the right path, to occupy his time in meaningful and purposeful activity, and to also serve as someone he can look up to and model his behaviour after.
I think about the mentors in my life. One, in particular, gave me a chance when I graduated from university at 23. I can attribute the wonderful blessings in my professional life thanks to this person giving me an opportunity and mentoring me.
I wish for the same in T. Because I do see it – and as evidenced by our painful first day of return to homeschool hell today (more on this later) – that he is going to need hands-on support in the years to come.
I believe that everyone has potential and that one key ingredient in helping one maximize their potential is having someone believe in them and guide them.
Thankfully, we live in a city with wonderful programs for youth, including mentorship programs.
I’m aware of programs specifically for youth with special needs. By the time T is a youth, these programs will likely be even more widely available.
I’m thankful T already has great mentors in his life and I hope for this in every step along his life – especially during the challenging times.
And maybe we’ll get T involved in karate as he gets older too! He certainly has the energy and angst to burn.