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1574828754 Meaningful Results1

1574828754 Meaningful Results1

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41

Whether there is a five-year age difference between
mentor and mentee or a 50-year age difference,
there is a chance that one or both of you is feeling
a little uncomfortable with the fact that you are in
different stages of your lives. Some of this could be
because of the myths or stereotypes you may have
heard about adults and young people through the
media and from other people you know. A stereo-
type is an idea you believe about a whole group of
people without thinking about them as individuals.
Have you ever heard these things?

ADULTS ARE . . .

strict,

forgetful of what it’s like to be young, or

disrespectful of young people’s ideas and
abilities.

YOUNG PEOPLE ARE . . .

lazy,

irresponsible, or

self-centered.

Instead of falling back on these stereotypes,
try not to jump to conclusions about an individual.
When you are getting to know each other, listen
for what the other person does, knows, believes,
and has the possibility to become. Below is a list of
conversation starters that can help you get to know
each other, to better understand each other’s expe-
rience as young people, and to “bust” some of the
myths we have about each other’s generations.

FAMILY

What were/are some of the ground rules your
family had/has?

What kind of traditions did/does your family
honor?

How old were you before you were allowed to . . .

. . . stay over at a friend’s house?

. . . watch a scary movie?

. . . get your ears pierced?

. . . go to a dance at school?

. . . go on a date?

. . . drive?

SCHOOL

What was/is the dress code at your school?

What major world events happened while you
were in school? How did your teachers help
students talk about them?

What kinds of
traditions did/does
your school have?

What sports did/do
you play?

What other activities
did/do you do?

What classes did/do
you take? How were/are they meant to prepare
you for a career path?

CONTINUES

91

TECHNOLOGY

In what format did/do you listen to music as
a young person (e.g. vinyl records, 8-tracks,
cassettes, CDs)?

Did you/do you have
computers to work on at
school? What were/are
they like?

How did/do you
communicate with friends
and relatives (e.g. writing letters, talking on
phones with cords, sending e-mail, and instant
messaging)?

What was/is the television you had growing up
like (e.g. remote controls, number of channels)?

ENTERTAINMENT

What kind of music did/do you and your friends
listen to? Why did/do you like it?

How did/does your family feel about the music
you like?

What television shows did/do you watch?

Which celebrities were/are popular with you
and your friends?

What concerts have you attended?

What were/are your favorite movies as a teen?

How much did/does it cost to go to a movie
theater? What was/is the theater like?

FASHION

What were/are some of the important fashion
trends you’ve experienced as a teen?

How did/do people style their hair?

What were/are you not allowed to wear by your
family and/or school?

LOCAL, NATIONAL, AND WORLD EVENTS

What was/is going on in the world that really
made/makes you think about life and your role
in it?

What events happened/happen in your
neighborhood or community that made/make
you think about life and your role in it?

JOBS

What was your first job? How much did/do you
make an hour?

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

Developmental Assets™ are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting

young people’s development. This handout may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). From Mentoring for Meaningful

Results: Asset-Building Tips, Tools, and Activities for Youth and Adults. Copyright © 2006 by Search InstituteSM

; 800-888-7828; www.search-institute.org.

BRIDGING GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES41

92

FOR MENTORS & MENTEES

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