Summer is winding down and school is around the corner. I’ve been thinking about my beloved mentor kids a lot recently. I have had the privilege of talking about mentoring to a couple of potential new mentors.
I’ve done some critical evaluation and attempted to understand why some mentoring relationships make it and some don’t and I’ve narrowed it down to something important:
It Starts With Love.
You can’t succeed at mentoring if your heart isn’t in it.
This isn’t the kind of deal where you can be punching a ticket, trying to fulfill a community service requirement, maybe seeing if you can’t impress someone, or just looking for something to fill an empty time slot.
If that’s what you need, find a food pantry to volunteer in or a community garden that needs to be cleaned. But don’t halfway commit to something as important as mentoring a fatherless child.
In other words, don’t be that guy. Don’t be that guy to these kids. Don’t be like the parent who comes and goes as they please in and out of a kid’s life and leaves them wondering whether or not Dad really loves them. Don’t be the uncle who shows up to have fun and then disappears for months sometimes years. Kids deserve better than that. They need consistency.
And if this relationship isn’t a labor of love for you, it’s just going to fail. I’ll go ahead and save everyone the time and energy now.
On the flip side, I will tell you that there are many ways that it can work out if you really do come from a position of love. You don’t have to sign up for a multi-year contract. Maybe you’re just the right person for the right period of time and then you both move on. Don’t get so caught up in worrying about how it will end that you never step out and try.
By all means, mentor kids and pour into communities. Our society needs compassionate individuals who genuinely care about others. The point here is that love is the answer. Love is always the answer.