What is it about mentoring, which makes us want to be so kind?
When you become a mentor, you have this charged energy; a feeling whereby you cannot wait to meet your young person. You do the mentoring training. You get it. You understand that having a consistent relationship is key. You have talked to the mentors and Case Holders. You have asked questions. You are blown away by Rod’s sessions on attachment and will forever be changed by the training. You can’t help thinking that you will make a big difference, although even though the Case Holders explain fully that every relationship is different, and you may not make big changes with your young person. You still think of all the different kinds of things you will do: teach them to cook; teach them how to be positive; you will show them that life is full of fun. You can’t wait to show them how kind you are. After all, kindness wins, right?
Then, you meet your young person and what they enjoy more than anything, is meeting you for hot chocolate and cake. You go to the beach a few times; you talk about her family and what her future ambitions are. Your conversations are quite serious. One day she says. ‘I’ve found someone who is worse at driving than you and you are a BAD driver.’ You laugh together and you reply, ‘They must be really bad.’ That’s when you know she is comfortable with you; laughter and gentle mockery is what binds the friendship together.
That’s it. You get it. You really get it. You laugh. You get on really well. She tells you, ‘Thank you for being there.’ You realise it’s not just about being kind and assuring her that it’s all going to work out. It’s about friendship. It’s about having time together each week. It’s listening. It’s about encouraging her to sketch. It’s about believing in her. It’s about standing by her. It’s doing things together. Yes, being kind is helpful, but having a friendship where you have shared positive experiences is what it is all about.
Then, one day, she presents you with a little sketch. You beam with pride at how incredible she is.