Asked to be a mentor

This is a discussion on Asked to be a mentor within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; The neighbor boy (14) came over yesterday to ask if I would mentor him, as he is going for his shotgun merit badge, and he ...

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Thread: Asked to be a mentor

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array RemMod597's Avatar
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    Asked to be a mentor

    The neighbor boy (14) came over yesterday to ask if I would mentor him, as he is going for his shotgun merit badge, and he know no one else to ask.

    There is a back story: I have had many run-ins with him, his mother and his aunt over his behavior in the past.
    He is sorely in need of a guiding male figure in his life.
    This boy is bi-polar and ADD. His attention span is about 30 seconds.

    At first, I was hesitant to get involved, but suddenly had a deep down feeling that I should do it, if only to make sure he gets the correct mentoring.
    I also heard a little "voice" in my head tell me to either step up to the plate on this, or quit complaining about his behavior.

    Can anyone give me any tips on mentoring someone with such a short attention span? I really want to help out, and do not want to lose him in the process.


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  3. #2
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    Give him small doses, and always leave the session on a high note.
    For example, bring him over and let him handle a shotgun. Go over basic safety rules and maybe a little nomenclature. Talk about actually shooting the gun at clays, in the future...then end the session.
    Set a date for round two. Go over the same things you already covered, then move into teaching proper mount, swing etc. Keep it at a 1/2 hour max, then end it.
    You get the idea for the rest.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    You could very well change this boys life,good luck
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    ADD is often over-diagnosed. I pay little attention to that (no pun intended).

    Bi-polar is serious stuff. Again, even it is often mis-diagnosed (especially at his age).

    Step one is boundaries. Make the rules clear.
    Step two is love and lots of it. Remember that love can be an action, it doesn't have to be a feeling.

    1) If he breaks the rules of step one (he probably will), it's 'game over' for the day.
    2) Seek him out on day two and let him know that he has another chance.
    3) Repeat.

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  6. #5
    Member Array GrandBob's Avatar
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    Do it. You might be the only postive influence the kid ever gets about gun ownership.

    He needs a male figure in his life, it is no accident that you have been chosen.

    Keep the learning sessions small and interesting. Dont overwhelm him with too much info.

    Start with the 4 rules of gun ownership and explain them. Then let him see the shotgun and handle it after you let him see that you checked it. Correct any mistakes.
    As Sixto stated, go in small increments to keep his attention.

    Many people with ADD are actually quite intelligent. They just have a different learning style from most of us that suits them. Once you figure out how to handle that, its all good as long as you understand their limitations.

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    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Like others have said, ADD is often over diagnosed and quite frankly, I'm not even sure it exists. But, bi-polar is a different story. I have a niece who is bi-polar and the mood swings are not something I'm sure I'd want to see while she was holding a loaded firearm.

    If you think you want to do this, you need to talk with his mother. Find out if he actually has any diagnosed mental problems. If he does, as much as you may want to help, I'd steer clear.

    If you decide to go ahead anyway and his mother agrees, I'd get written permission from her and have it signed and notarized. I'd also make sure it contains a waiver of liability.

    I know you want to help, but this just seems like a potentially bad situation. Best of luck.

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  8. #7
    Senior Member Array Rob P.'s Avatar
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    There are better ways to mentor someone. One of the things a mentor has to do is understand that there are some things that the child should not be doing based on the child's individual characteristics. I think I would not want to be responsible if, during the depression phase, the boy used a firearm to kill/harm someone/himself.

    Further, since the kid is Bi-polar he might be precluded from owning/possessing firearms anyway. And, his parents are the ones who should be making this choice, not you.

    I would not do this. Even granting that we here are pro-firearms there are (or should be) limits. IMO, this is well beyond those limits.

  9. #8
    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvhoss View Post
    Like others have said, ADD is often over diagnosed and quite frankly, I'm not even sure it exists. But, bi-polar is a different story. I have a niece who is bi-polar and the mood swings are not something I'm sure I'd want to see while she was holding a loaded firearm.

    If you think you want to do this, you need to talk with his mother. Find out if he actually has any diagnosed mental problems. If he does, as much as you may want to help, I'd steer clear.

    If you decide to go ahead anyway and his mother agrees, I'd get written permission from her and have it signed and notarized. I'd also make sure it contains a waiver of liability.

    I know you want to help, but this just seems like a potentially bad situation. Best of luck.

    Hoss
    Great answer!!!
    Personally I'm not sure I could take on the task with his "problems".
    If you decide to go ahead with it, like others have mentioned first lesson, nothing but the safety rules. Second lesson, make sure he can remember every step of lesson #1 before proceeding.
    As other have said either problem or both may or may not be a correctly diagnosed, gauge how he responds to your instructions, and stop the lesson if you see or feel he's not catching on.
    It sounds like a tough job, and I give you credit for wanting to help him.
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

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    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    I'm not even sure by what what you've stated if he is actually allowed to have a gun by law. If he is really a diagnosed bipolar, he should not have access to a firearm due to his mental disorder and swings in his thinking.
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    I've worked with BP kids...one minute they're just fine, and everything goes smoothly. For no 'apparent' reason, they can fly off the deep end rather quickly...be very careful. The suggestion about talking with the parent and getting permission in writing is an important idea.
    As far as getting involved, I think it is a great idea, one just has to set the 'rules' and plan ahead.
    Good luck.
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    May the Good Lord bless you with whatever you need to make it all happen. I'll give you my blessings for trying. I know you are capable.

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    Member Array Impetus's Avatar
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    Sound like the start of a touching movie Disney movie...with guns! I say do it, and good luck to you. The Boy Scouts are a great organization, I was one for ten years. Some of my best memories were from the Scouts.
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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    I work with At Risk Youth, most of which have been diagnosed with ADD and quite a few as bi-polar. The program I work for is a residentual 22 week program. I think ADD is way over diagnosed. I have yet to see one get side tracked and forget to eat.
    I would spend some time coming up with your expectations and draw up a contract between you and the kid. Let him know what you expect and what happens, and for how long, when he fails to live up to his end of the bargin.
    Always try to keep in mind that the more difficult a kid is to deal with, the more they need someone that will try to keep them headed in the right direction.
    Don't be surpised if you find out that dealing with "mama" and "aunt" cause more grief than the kid does.
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  15. #14
    Member Array alexcantslee's Avatar
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    Were gearing up for our shotgun merit badge as well. Over the years we've had some kids who were a really good shot!

    You might want to be come a charter member of his troop just so your not some uninvolved third party. Its 15 dollars now, its just went up for 2010. You can even select the position of "Lone Mentor" on your app. I believe thats the verbage used on that one. I would want to meet his scoutmaster and let him know what he's been taught as time goes on.

    Scouting is a great thing and I do hope you help this kid out. A lot of time all a kid needs is someone to be there for him. Of all the things Ive helped teach or taught our kids the thing that seems to resonate the loudest is that "someone cares". And you never know, this kid might be a great shot. He might try for other merit badges later too, or even his Eagle since he managed to do something else he couldn't do before. Thats what scouts is all about, helping a boy become an independent fine young man who has confidence that he can achieve.

    Sometimes the kids can wear you out as well and it'll be as much a learning experience for you as it is for him. A trick on boys, boys learn by shame, or the fear of it. If he does well, make sure he has an opportunity to be proud about it. If he really, REALLY is just too much of a loose cannon theres no need to put anyone at risk. But I think its speaks a lot of him to come to someone that he's had trouble with in the past for help. That shows he really wants it to some degree. And I think it must speak well of you too.

    If you have any questions feel free to PM me for requirements, etc...My roommate is a Scoutmaster of 25 years and two of our adult leaders are NRA certified to teach firearms so they take care of most of that for us. So if you need any advice or info I'd be happy to find out the answer if I can. I didnt become a scout until I was 28 years old but even for me it gives me a real sense of pride. Its the one organization that can give you the chance to be proud of someone elses child.

    Alex
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    Member Array Machina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Impetus View Post
    Sound like the start of a touching movie Disney movie...with guns! I say do it, and good luck to you. The Boy Scouts are a great organization, I was one for ten years. Some of my best memories were from the Scouts.
    Some of my worst were from trying to be a patrol guide for the first years O.o

    There were some kids that went into scouting because the parents needed babysitters and just plopped them into the troop for their own free time. Heavily medicated, no respect for authority whatsoever and never changed. Some simply faded away, while only a few became worthwhile to the troop in that they didn't need constant supervision to keep from destroying things. The ones that were all manageable and not medicated grew up to be great scouts and even better people for it despite their first year antics (We all had those, right?).

    Talk to his parents first and foremost. I would hate for the kid to be acting on his own, and to have his parents (not knowing if they are anti or not) flip out that you let him handle a shotgun or even tried to teach him about guns.

    My first memories shooting were doing the rifleman and shotgun merit badges, and those rules and teachings stuck through many years of never handling a gun. Given the chance, this would be a fantastic opportunity to leave this kid with solid lasting memories.
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