The Mentoring Journey Continues
We are all familiar with the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Life is a journey, not a destination." The same wisdom applies to mentoring, as it is a process of building a meaningful relationship with a child over time. Appreciating the mentoring journey means being open to wherever the road may lead.
Your companion on this important journey is your mentee, who brings his/her own unique story, experiences and feelings to the relationship. Seedling volunteers know that mentoring a child requires on-going skill building, support from their Mentor Director, and time with their fellow mentors to reflect on the experience. Last month's training provided this and more, as participants were introduced to mentoring as a journey.
While your mentee may not have shared his/her story yet, other children of the incarcerated have, revealing trauma, confusion and pain.
In the 10-minute video Echoes of Incarceration, young people discuss their personal experience of having a parent in prison. View online HERE.
The brave individuals in this video who speak so honestly about their feelings were once young students like your mentee and may have lacked the confidence or the words to share their story. Or maybe your mentee has shared his/her story and you have listened and validated them, giving support and being a friend.
Like any journey worth traveling, the mentor/mentee relationship moves in stages. It can have adventure, or take twists and turns that sometimes lead you back to the beginning, and all of this is part of it. Seedling identifies our mentor/mentee stages as
- Starting out together
- Scenic byways
- End of the road
For further description of the stages along with communication tips, click
Take a moment to reflect on where you and your mentee are in this process, keeping in mind that the experience is rarely ordinary, as there are two of you. Consider how your mentee's feelings about his/her incarcerated parent affect the journey. How about your feelings?
Our October Mentor Training will offer helpful tools and the latest research on how to enhance your mentee's emotional vocabulary and strengthen communication skills. Mark your calendars for October 29th, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.,
and watch for the invitation in your email.