EMPATHIZE AND MODEL
1. Be open with them regarding your own past struggles and share the work and the process that led you to overcome the challenge.
2. Admit that there are (many) things that you still struggle with every day, haven’t yet mastered, and continue to work on and improve in.
NORMALIZE AND EMPOWER
3. Normalize the struggle by explaining that God created us with “competing voices” and that every time we overcome the self- centered voice and educate it with the God centered voice we fulfill the reason we are here.
4. Help them identify their own unique inner struggle(s) and strategize together how to overcome the challenge or temptation. (If this is an area you are familiar with you can be especially helpful).
5. Embrace the mission. You never “graduate and finish” but you can keep on learning, growing and fulfilling the will of God.
6. When a mistake is made – DO NOT JUDGE, SHAME OR “GUILT TRIP”. Give them space and perspective. Help them see the mistake as an opportunity to grow closer to God by learning from it and improving.
PRAISE THE WORK NOT THE PERSON
7. Instead of praising them as “Tzadikim” (Saints) when they do the right thing – Praise their effort in overcoming challenges that are especially difficult for them.
TRUST IN THEM AND THEIR PROCESS
8.Their connection to God is innate and at the core of their being. It is our job to encourage and help them define what this means to them in their everyday life. For example, rebelling is an understandable response to what they perceive as an empty and shallow religious experience.
9. Encourage them to think with nuance and sensitivity. Distance from “black and white” categorical terms like religious/not religious, good kid/bad kid, especially when discussing spiritual issues.
10. Embody for them God’s faith in us. God believes in us infinitely more than we believe in Him and sincerely wants us to give it all we got.