Blog Post #295 Mentoring

Yesterday I did my weekly mentoring session.

I’m a mentor for a 6th grade student at the nearby Middle School.  His mother requested a mentor for him. Seemingly his father is out of the picture (divorced probably) and she thought an adult male role model would be good for him.

It isn’t a hard assignment.  We spend about an hour together once a week.  I have done some structured activities (moebius strips, wuzzles, logic problems), some games (connect four, Apples to Apples, Yahtzee), and some physical things (he loved to shoot baskets).  We talk a little. Sometimes I try to get some life lessons and suggestions, but I try not to be too philosophical.

Last week I learned that he and his family are moving to Washington State.  Something about more of his mother’s family are there and it might be a new start for them.  Subconsciously I think I will miss him – although we will have about six more times together.  I’m getting to know him and becoming comfortable with him and he with me.

Although he didn’t tell me (the middle school program coordinator did), he misses his real father.  As a man who grew up in a solid nuclear family home – and only one person in terms of fairly closely related ever divorced, the idea of a split family is not as close as it must be to this young man.  Maybe he will get the idea that if marriage doesn’t work out, you just call it quits and move on.

As a mentor, I can communicate verbally and non-verbally.  He can see me as a caring adult (or caring ‘foster grandparent’).  My actions of just showing up every week should tell him that I think he is important and has value in my life (and that I care about him).  To have an adult that is not a parent spend an hour with any sixth grader one-on-one is almost unheard of.

Thinking of myself – do I have anybody who spends an hour with me one-on-one other than my wife or a relative?

Maybe we all need mentors to be role models for us, to listen to us, and just to show up on a regular basis.  Such mentors directly or indirectly say “You are important to me”.

I had many mentors in my life – mostly teachers who cared to talk to me one-on-one, to be around and to be role models.  They gave of themselves – and now it is time for me to give back to others.

So what do you think?  Is such giving back as a mentor important to you?  Can you think of how some of your mentors have helped you through life?

Go for it!! Have a great day!!

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White

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