Rethinking Adolescence: Using Story to Navigate Life's Uncharted Years

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More than ever before, students need guidance and support from the adults in their lives. Here, author Jay D' Ambrosio suggests practical approaches for connecting with young people at the level of the heart through the utilization of myths, stories, movies, and songs. He contends that Story speaks to both students and adults on a spiritual dimension and will help adult readers better comprehend the condition of those challenges common to adolescence. Throughout each chapter, this book explores the wisdom necessary to face such trials that can be found in Homer's Odyssey and other great stories. Rethinking Adolescence includes: · Discussion topics and answers for use with adolescents · Recommendations of movies and stories that are effective in dealing with various issues This book should be useful to parents, teachers, youth workers, counselors, clergy, and mentors.

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Editorial Reviews

John H. Stephens
Jay D'Ambrosio has given us a birds-eye view of the trials and tribulations that face adolescents as they grow into adulthood. He has skillfully woven the use of myths, stories, movies, and song into practical approaches for adult role models to connect with 'young people at the level of the heart.' This book addresses the issue of low self-esteem [among] adolescents and offers viable solutions for parents, teachers, counselors, and coaches to help young people deal with this challenging issue.
Gary Solomon
Without question, books, movies and myths tell the stories of our lives. Enter Jay D' Ambrosio... [who] helps us recognize the importance of using stories to reach out to adolescents, assisting them in identifying personal issues and problems through stories; he reminds adolescents to seek emotional guidance and support through the process of using stories as educational and healing tools. Jay's book is enchanting. He uses the idea of teaching adolescents to connect their thoughts to their hearts through the process of understanding, in the most meaningful sense, the importance of relating their own life stories to the words of authors from all over the world. You will quickly appreciate his intelligent insight and wisdom.
Jonathan Young
Finally, a mythic guide to the first great initiatory journey. Joseph Campbell showed us the pattern, now Jay D'Ambrosio applies it to adolescence. This book shows the challenges and opportunities of youth through exciting adventures from ancient myth. Rethinking Adolescence is a must-read for parents, teachers, and counselors who care about those going through the most difficult of all life-stage transitions.
Birgit Wolz
Jay D' Ambrosio clearly understands the needs and challenges of adolescents. His innovative book is an invaluable resource for parents, teachers, and counselors to use the power of story in films and books to reach young people on a deep level.
The Joseph Campbell Foundation
D'Ambrosio uses myths, movies, and music to connect his students to the Story unfolding in their lives. The book skillfully braids research, classroom experience, and myth together into an informative and surprisingly riveting read. Teachers and parents will benefit from this pragmatic guide to mythic initiation.
Pennsylvania Middle School Association Newsletter
Through this book, teachers can gain a perspective on what their students are going through from modern day experiences of Instant Messenger bullying to the age-old pressure to succeed. The intelligent media references in the book range from the movie The Karate Kid to the songs of singer Sting. Rethinking Adolescence: Using Story to Navigate Life's Uncharted Years is a book that certainly should be experienced and utilized by educators of adolescents.
—Shellie Hipsky, Ed.D.
VOYA - Anita Beaman
Using story as a teaching tool is not new to education. Effective educators do it instinctively, using stories to illustrate lessons and make learning relevant for students. Here D'Ambrosio advocates for a more formalized use of story to help young adults find their way in a world full of mixed messages and morals. He makes connections between classic stories like The Odyssey and the lives of modern teens, offering parents and educators tips on how to use story to boost student self-confidence, deal with bullies, and avoid the pitfalls of substance abuse. Although a few of D' Ambrosio's connections are interesting, unfortunately there is really very little here that is new. Many of his methods seem more idealistic than practical, and at times, his tone borders on condescending. Aside from The Odyssey, used as an example in every chapter, most of the examples of story that D' Ambrosio supplies are actually films. Sample discussion questions are given for addressing each life issue, but little advice is offered on how to actively engage students to produce effective results. Without creative planning, most of D' Ambrosio's questions will likely lead to just another "feel good" activity that has little long-term effect on students. Schools or parents with a particular interest in using story for instruction might glean a few ideas from this book, but they will find more information on using story for results in books like Annette Simmons's The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling (Basic Books, 2002).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578864768
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 7/10/2006
  • Pages: 166
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jay D' Ambrosio is an ancient history teacher, mentor, and conflict mediator at Seneca Valley Middle School in Harmony, Pennsylvania. To visit his website, go to:

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction: Open Your Eyes Chapter 2 The Adventure Begins Chapter 3 Seeking One's Place in the World Chapter 4 Calypso's Snare Chapter 5 Numbing the Pain Chapter 6 Giants in the Land Chapter 7 The Siren's Song Chapter 8 Shadow of Death Chapter 9 Father's Time Chapter 10 Mother's Nature, by Stacy Gallagher Chapter 11 Passing through the Veil Part 12 Closer to the Heart

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