Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give.
~Edwin Arlington Robinson
Sometimes with 5 kids you would think that we put in our fair share of mentoring… just within the walls of our home. But, my parents instilled in me a heart of hospitality and giving. Our doors were always open to teens in need… and we had several that filtered through our home over the years. Everyone loved my parents and vice versa. Therefore, as I got older I saw myself doing the same thing.
In fact, my husband and I have worked with the youth group at our church for about 8 years now altogether. Our first small group was all boys and they were over regularly. We talked about everything you could imagine, ate, played games, ate, goofed around, ate… yeah, those boys could put away some food while they were over. But, we enjoyed mentoring them… and still talk to most of them even today. Several are in college or headed there soon and still call us friends.
Thankful for the Opportunity to Mentor Others
When we changed churches we moved back into the youth and began another group. This one was co-ed and yet we did the same thing. Talked, ate, played, ate, hung out. Teenagers can definitely eat you out of your house if you let them! Alas, the conversation was always great and the bonds we all formed within the group was incredible. Plus the way they talked to us and came to us when in need was beyond gratifying.
I enjoyed being able to answer their late night texts, knocks at the door anytime of the day or night, and even invite a couple to stay with us when necessary. Our own children have always welcomed them in and are learning the art of mentoring as well.
As we head into a season of thankfulness, I am thankful for the opportunity to mentor others. It has taught me a lot about myself and what I want for these kids. It encourages me each time we get a text, a Facebook message, a call, or surprise visit from some of these kids. They are all growing up and doing amazing things. The invites to graduations, weddings, and even bridal showers are incredible to witness. It is nice knowing that we somehow played a role in their lives… and, more importantly, they played a vital one in ours.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Program
I firmly believe the influence of positive role models whether through the church, school, outside family member, or organization such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program is a great way to be mentored. There is no special training or degree necessary to positively influence a child.
In fact, did you know that 20% of the children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program are Hispanic? And that number is only growing unfortunately. Yet, only 9% of the program’s “Bigs” are Latino. Plus, over 70% of the children waiting to be matched with a mentor are boys. And the volunteers? Primarily women. In fact, 3 out of 10 volunteers are men.
For over 100 years, the Big Brothers Big Sisters program has continuously worked to change lives. The youth involved are less likely to skip school, use drugs, or drink alcohol. And although the things you can offer may seem small to some people, in the life of a child seeking encouragement it can mean the world.
How has a mentor impacted your life? Have you had the opportunity to mentor a young person? You can easily learn more about becoming a Latino Big today. Your time and passion could forever change the life of a child seeking your companionship. You can also like Latino Bigs on Facebook and follow along on Twitter.