Our FB friend – Frazer Austin
There was never any voice that sat on my shoulder to offer smarter advice when I was growing up as a young teenager. Instead, there was the social norm of just being mischievous and then when one went too far – a physical kick up the bum or clip across the ear; or the corporal punishment of a whack across the hand with a strap or butt cheeks with a cane. We either learnt from the lesson, or kept taking the lesson! Reflecting back, I am grateful for the different teaches I had for dishing out the lessons because eventually I got it, a smarter inner voice.
If only I had of known what I know now back then as a young teenager. Perhaps I would have graduated on the smarter lessons of life a lot earlier. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. And that is how we ended up meeting Frazer Austin, the next Face Book friend visited.
It wasn’t to replace the parenting role; but more a voice on the shoulder to share what I knew about self resilience, self efficacy and self confidence.
At the time, Frazer was fourteen. First impressions, a mirror image of a younger me with an attitude of knowing everything and being bullet proof – typical stereotype of a mischievous person. For Frazer, perhaps another old person telling him what to do. And so began the relationship of rapport building, goal setting, recreational activity, and rubber band stretching without the kick up the bum or clip across the ear.
Project K is about seeing the potential in a person as a whole. It was tough to be a snippet in a life being moulded for the better and by the end of the year, it became a formality to tick off a box to get Frazer just graduated – whatever it took. Sometimes we don’t see the lessons taught in the physical form until long after the classroom time has finished.
Frazer and I have kept in touch since graduation. Today, Frazer is twenty three. As we shared a beer for over a couple of hours, that youth of yesteryear has turned into a young adult that holds a conversation way beyond his age.
More significant, he’s found HIS inner voice too.
A mentor’s role can be for life if the mentee still wants that voice on the shoulder. What Frazer wasn’t aware of, was how he played the mentor’s role in my personal growth; the new skills I gained; and the perspectives he taught me in the process. It’s was him that set my foundation to be a better voice on the shoulder to many others to find their inner voice.
It just goes to show … mentor’s can appear at anytime as we age. And who said they couldn’t be younger.