StuCo
Student Council

Fr. Mike's Ten Things Every Student Council Advisor Should Know

These thoughts are not exhaustive, but they are meant to stimulate discussion and thought. There are probably many reasons why someone like me should NOT speak these thoughts, but there is one very big reason why I should: we have problems. Our world has problems, our schools have problems, our communities have problems. Maybe these thoughts can help in one way or another.

1. There are no answers, only might helps.
No one person and no one program has all the answers, but there are many "might helps," that is many programs, thoughts, concepts, etc. that might help us in our work with young people.

2. Remember your family
As important as a school or student council is, it is not the most important thing in our lives. Our families are, or our personal development is. When we begin spending more time on our job (whatever our job may be) than we do with our own families or development, we have made a mistake.

3. Generally speaking, teenagers are powerless
They need advocates. Many people in our schools are not at all convinced that young people can accomplish very much. We have to run interference for our young people, not only with the principal (who must be informed by us), but the whole faculty.

4. The problems adolescents have are not the same as adult problems, but they are just as important and have the same intensity.
This means that we must be totally open to listening to what their problems are, even ones that we think that we can solve easily. It also means that we have to acquaint ourselves with what they are doing-that is, we must know their music, their movies, how they are thinking, etc. We are not their age, and we never will be. In fact, teenagers are FRAGILE in many ways. They are in a stage of development that is not mature, and we can never forget that, no matter how "mature" we may think they are.

5. Peer pressure is the single most important force in an adolescent's life
Simply put, this is the single most important factor that philosophically dictates what they do and what they say. We must never put ourselves in a situation where we say: "You choose us or them." We will lose every time.

6. Popularity in some form constantly occupies young people's minds
Specifically that which occupies their actual lives is popularity as expressed in some type of sexual/physical attraction. It goes without saying, of course, that boys and girls are different, but we must always remember that they are VERY different, especially in this area. This is acted out in their lives in especially this way: girls, by their dress and makeup; boys, by their actions and talk. The media is absolutely shameless in taking advantage of them, especially advertisements.

7. What you do speaks so loudly that the young people cannot hear what you say
There are legitimate reasons that allow an adult to act differently from a teenager, but in general, young people do not think so. For adolescents, it is clear-cut: if you tell me what to do about my moral behavior, then your moral behavior in the same area ought to follow the same rules, e.g. alcohol, language, attitude, smoking, and sex.

8. You are going to need help
With student council, the biggest help is the Summer Workshop. It stands to reason because we don't know enough about student councils. This State gives us a great opportunity to learn about it with the special Advisors' Council that is part of the Workshop. But the Workshop is mainly for the young people, giving them the time they need to develop leadership attitudes and thoughts.

9. You are very important to your student council
Besides the fact that they often need good adult examples, they need our expertise. Usually, they cannot accomplish the goals themselves, but they have to feel that it is their project. We are the wind beneath their wings. We are their motivation.

10. In fact, you may be the single most important factor in their future lives
Granted, their life is their own creation, so to speak, but we may be the most important influence in their lives right now. When they think back to their high school, will they think of us? And how will they think of us?

 

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