I did something today, that in my 34-years of life, I’ve never experienced. Today I walked into one of our local elementary schools, signed my name in the visitors book, and was introduced to a third grade boy who has been selected to be my mentee. I knew that when I awoke this morning, that come noon today this would be my journey. I was a bit nervous. I’ve mentored plenty of times before, but those experiences were with teenagers. They were within my comfort zone. I readily confess to any who care to listen that, “I don’t do kids.” I’m rather matter of fact about it. As much as I love working with teenagers, children are an altogether different matter. So when our church entered into a mentoring partnership with the school I thought this ought to be something I at least check into.
Fast forward several weeks, and here I am, walking through the lunch line with my mentee leading the way. For an hour we ate and worked through the list of basic get-to-know-you questions. By the end of the hour, we were talking freely, laughing over Connect Four and already dreaming about what next week would bring.
As we carried on, at the infant stages of a new relationship, I could not help but feel the pings of pain; the kind that settle deep in ones heart when they hear and see the stark reality of neglect. As I listened to my mentee share about his life, what was missing in his stories were the stories of his parent’s involvement in his life. Sure he mentioned mom and dad, but not near as much as he mentioned his PS3, Wii, DS, and PS2.
These things do not a suitable substitute make. It’s hard not to judge, not to get angry, not to want to scream at the top of my lungs. No doubt my frustration comes from having seen over and over again the sort of future destined for my mentee if something in his life doesn’t change.
And then I realize that maybe God has given me this opportunity to enact some sort of change. Quite honestly, this is not the sort of situation I would willing go looking for. It had to be God-ordained. It is God-ordained. My prayer is that in my hour once a week I’ll be a change-agent for my new friend. Can I ask you to join me in that prayer?