Years ago, when I decided to substitute teach, I never knew how much richer my life would be as a result. My original intent was to make some additional money, become more attuned to the students who were friends with my kids and to have a schedule that meshed well in our family.
Seven years later, I am blessed with Facebook friends of kids I’ve had the chance to get to know through subbing, and through their years of growing up, I’ve gotten to watch their ups and downs, their challenges and how they handle them. And it gives me great joy to go to a football game and get hugs and hear “Hi, Mrs. Swain!” These young people truly have my interest.
We often forget, once we become “adults”, what it was like to be a high school student. Sure, we did some stupid things, but when we look back, we realize that we learned from those things and many times, it was an adult that calmly helped us realize the error of our ways.
In business and in community service, we in Huntersville have a tremendous resource with our area high school students. If we give them the time to learn from us, we can have advocates for our business or mission, future customers, tremendous representatives and sometimes, friends. They can clue us in as to how to court teenage customers and how to be more understanding and receptive of their generation. From what I have learned, they respect us more when they know that we are flawed and want to listen to their opinions and they will open up to learn the wisdom of our experiences.
If you need volunteers, students who are interested in community service opportunities, internships or jobs, I recommend contacting North Meck, Hough, Lake Norman Charter and Hopewell High Schools locally. The counselors can recommend students whose interests match yours.
You, in turn, can offer your expertise to our local schools. Are you an expert in your field and willing to spare two hours to converse with a class? Would you be willing to sponsor a club to help them excel at a skill that you share? Could you host a club that could observe how you do business? By simply availing yourself to these young minds, you are expanding your exposure.
Today, I reprimanded a group of my young Facebook friends for griping about some of the rules at their high school. I encouraged them to quit “boo hooing”, give the rules a chance and then consider how they would make positive change.
I suppose the same goes for business success. Times are slow economically and it is up to us to figure out how not to lament about the difficulties, but to figure out how we’ll make that positive change.
Huntersville Connection can be that first step. Reach out to the other businesses and entities in the group, embrace the younger generation, realize the potential of audiences you’ve never before considered. THIS is a clearinghouse for ideas. Please, take advantage of it, comment, share, offer suggestions. We are all in this together and for each other’s benefit.