Core scripture: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Message: Let me ask you a question. Why did you become a teacher? It wasn’t for the pay. It wasn’t for the prestige. More than likely, it was to make a difference. Because you love kids. One of the most difficult things as an educator is to balance making that true impact with teaching curriculum. That is why every year I try to seek out a child or two in my 5th hour to pull aside once a week—and sometimes more—to mentor during lunch.
The first week of school I found my kid this year. It really wasn’t difficult to seek him out at all. He had gravitated to me all week, always asking if he had done something right, and he had tipped me off that his home life was a mess. When I asked him to sit down with me over lunch, his eyes got as wide as saucers. You would have thought I had just offered him the keys to a cherry red Ferrari. And so our relationship began.
I started off by just listening. Picking his brain. Getting to know his past, his present, and his dreams. I cannot even begin to tell you the train wreck of a life he has endured so far, not to mention the adversity he has faced this year. It made my life look like heaven compared to his. The reward? That’s easy. Seeing him grow. Watching him laugh. He has woven his way into my heart, and I know he will always be there.
Through the years I have taken many young men under my wing, and I encourage you to do the same. That being said, here is what God has taught me about mentoring:
- Communicate with the guardian first. Make sure they are okay with you mentoring their child, and give the parent any positive feedback through the year.
- Pick a child of the same sex. Connections will come so much easier, and it is much safer.
- Eat lunch in a quiet spot in view of the public eye. I always do the library corner table. In your classroom would not be recommended; however, if you do, always have the door open. Once again, safety.
- Help them out with academics. Whatever is needed. Give positive suggestions, and you can always reward them with a special desert treat. J
- Be transparent. When you model that to them, they will open up.
- Allow them to bring a friend along for a special occasion. Not every week. Just for something new.
- Give them advice on how to navigate life. What would you do in their shoes?
- Pray for them. As much as you can. Let them know you are praying for them, and ask them how you can pray for them. Before you know it, they will be coming to you for requests.
- Just listen. Share you own life experiences to guide them as well, but a lot of times all a kid wants is an adult to hear them out. It makes them feel special.
Now that second semester is under way, this is an awesome time to begin or polish these relationships. I bet some of you already do this. Feel free to reply below to share a success story or add any advice. I am always looking for new ways to connect with my mentee. That 25 minutes we spend together is so short, but it is so powerful. For both of us. Be a difference maker this semester.
Challenge: If you have not already done so, pray about finding the right student to mentor. Seek them out. Arrange a time to sit down and have lunch together. Get to know them on a personal level, letting them know you are always there for them.
Other scripture: “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
Prayer: Lord, I pray you help me find the right students to take under my wing to show them Your love. Amen.