Below is an extract of an article I wrote for Beam Magazine late 2021. Enjoy. Xx
At first glance you may be fooled into thinking that Sasha Lester has it all. The successful business, the white picket fence with the cute fluffy dog, loving partner and weekends away on the boat leaves no room for doubt, however, this hasn’t always been the case.
In 2011 as a single mum with two kids under five, working a steady 9-5, and living that ‘pay-cheque-to-pay-cheque’ kinda life she made it her mission to spend more time with her children, and be in a position to say YES whenever they needed her.
Ten years ago coaching, of any kind, wasn’t really spoken about – let alone undertaken willingly – yet Sasha knew that something was missing. Surely there was more to life than going to work, earning money and paying bills. Personal development had to be the key and after a few short weeks of a leadership program she realised that coaching and mentoring parents to be better versions of themselves for their children, was what she wanted to do.
Today, Sasha talks openly to Beam Magazine about just how important mindset work is when raising a troubled teen.
Not too long ago I was woken at 3am with a call from the local hospital telling me that my son was in ICU with a suspected drug overdose. The voice of the Nurse at the other end of the line was calm and collected (not so much cool), like she was a mother herself.
It was the phone call that no parent ever wants to take, yet somehow, I knew that it would be one that I would be receiving.
At the time of the call Harrison wasn’t living at home, we were a few short months into a global pandemic and communications weren’t great. They were pretty much non-existent to be honest, and when I listened to the nurses tell me what he had consumed and what state he was in my heart sank.
My heart was broken as I heard her speak about my son, it felt like the walls around me were crashing in on me. All I wanted as a parent was to raise happy, healthy and successful children, yet here I was struggling to connect with my teenage son.
I felt we were drifting further and further apart and that he didn’t love me anymore.
My son, on the other hand, was going through his own internal conflicts that I didn’t know about and was choosing drugs over conversations.
The only way I knew how to be a parent was from beliefs, or paradigms, that had been passed down by previous generations before me.
And so, I thought, that was the only way to handle Harrison.
Oh how wrong I was.
The truth is our teenagers do not need ‘fixing’; they do, however, need to be listened to, their views heard and most of all need to be understood. Our teenagers of today are our leaders of tomorrow, and it is our responsibility to equip ourselves so we can provide the appropriate support to them.
When I went to pick up Harrison from the hospital that morning, he was sitting at the end of his bed crying and as I walked towards him he looked at me and said “Why? Why do you continue to love me after all that I put you through?”. I held him and whispered in his ear “Because I’m your mum and I will ALWAYS be in your corner no matter what you throw at me”
Never underestimate the power of being there for your children. Whether they are 2 months, 2 years or 22 years, nothing is more important.
As a parent we want to be the fixer, yet certain problems aren’t problems at all and not all problems need ‘fixing’.
Sasha recalls a time when she telephoned her own mother in tears, yelling down the phone saying ‘why can’t you fix this Mum’ only to be met with, ‘it’s not a problem that needs fixing, you just have to work through it’.
The “problem” with teenagers of today is NOT with them, it’s with us and when we start to do the inner work on ourselves, those around us benefit. This is where Sasha, as a certified Proctor Gallagher Consultant, guides parents through the six-month Thinking Into Results program which focusses on setting goals, breaking through the terror barrier, shifting paradigms and getting up close and personal to your own self image.
Sasha has many stories to tell and doesn’t shy away for the hard hitting topics of sexual exploitation amongst teenagers, substance abuse, cutting, suicidal thoughts and so much more.
But what can we do now?
There are a few simple techniques that Sasha suggests implementing now to improve the relationship with their children in the future.
Find out how your teenager likes to communicate and adopt that method. SnapChat may just become your friend.
Start a journal and start to form the habit of writing in it every day. Write about what you’re grateful for, what’s going on in your life, a letter to your past self or a note to your future self.
Remind yourself that you are capable of handling whatever gets thrown your way and failing is not an option.
James Allen once said Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control.
Disclaimer: Harrison Lester has read and approved what has been written about him here.
Photography by Lauren Biggs Photography
To read the article in the flesh and to learn more from Beam click HERE