And amazing as these people are, they're still people. They still have moments where they can act like assholes or say the wrong thing.
And most impressive (and oftentimes extreme) in this mix are the youth that I get to work with. Because that thing about how teenagers are a LOT more capable than many adults give them credit for, it's true.
As someone who barely feels like an adult, but nonetheless finds himself in positions of being an adult figure, I think it's hugely important when working with youth to treat them as whole and capable beings, which ultimately means holding them accountable.
Case in point:
One of the youth I've met, a brilliant young man to be sure, has this unfortunately snarky habit of pushing people's buttons. For those of us who know and love him, we recognize that what comes across as assholishness is just him playing devil's advocate and mostly saying things to garner a response. For people who don't know him very well, or don't meet him in a mediated situation, it can lead to quickly escalating conflicts that he's usually fairly skilled at handling on his own.
Sometimes though he needs that gentle reminder.
I don't know if I gave the best response I possible when I privately confronted him about an argument he had on a mutual friend's Facebook post, which admittedly he did instigate and then proceed to use language that implicitly painted himself as a victim.
I called him out on that and then offered this bit:
You're more than smart enough to know how to manipulate a situation right to the line and then mediate it back down when you see it's headed in a direction you'd rather it didn't. Probably far more effectively than most people would be able to. That's actually really impressive. Use your powers for good.
I ended with this because I wanted to underline the importance that while I don't think he handled the situation ideally, I know he's smart enough to know that the points I called him out on (being the instigator by implying someone he didn't know is a douche and then painting himself as the victim when they rightfully, albeit not productively, reacted) are true. I wanted to say that yes, he's very good at this, but as someone who cares I expect him to use that skill in a constructive way.
These were just some thoughts.