On a few Sunday mornings while reading the program as I’ve waited for the service to begin, I have seen requests for adult men and women to consider becoming mentors for fatherless or motherless youth in our church. Although I have my hands full attending to the needs and wishes of two daughters, something about the youth mentoring ministry kept tugging at my heart.
I don’t have a son and wasn’t sure if I, experienced as I am with dollhouses, Easy Bake ovens and seemingly endless shopping excursions, as well as being quite knowledgeable about matching colors to every imaginable shade of pink and rotating shoes for each coming season, am adequately equipped to mentor a young boy. It has been over thirty-five years since I could accurately be called a young boy, and so many of the things I did for fun back then are no longer in vogue. People just don’t play Tiddlywinks anymore.
Yet one afternoon I found myself in a room talking with Hal Clark of Perimeter’s Youth Mentoring Ministry about becoming a mentor. Ten days later, Hal introduced me to an eleven year old boy, and within the hour I became his mentor.
Only a month has passed since I met this young boy, and in spite of my advanced age, inexperience with boys, and BORING personality (or so assert the girls in my home), he and I are getting along wonderfully.
His twelfth birthday was just this past Saturday and I had promised to spend half a day with him. We began our morning with conversation and breakfast at Chick-fil-A, then went to the Bricks to play basketball, pool, ping-pong, and air hockey, then ran off to Monkey Joe’s for some monkey business, and finally to lunch for his favorite cuisine, Chinese food. This was the first time we had planned to be so active so I let my protégé bring a friend along with us in case I became too winded to play (I didn’t, but I did sweat a lot trying to keep up with them).
During lunch this friend turned to the birthday boy said something to the effect of “your counselor sure is nice.” To my delight, my protégé corrected him right away. “He’s not my counselor, he’s my friend,” he said.
I couldn’t help but grin; I may not be so boring after all.
I’ve committed to mentoring my protégé for two years now, and I’m hopeful our relationship will last much longer. There is much we want to do together: see the Gwinnett Braves play, go fishing, go-cart racing, hike in the woods, fix his bike, learn to play the guitar, putt-putt, and more. Maybe you can tell – I think I’m getting as much out of this relationship as he is.
I believe that is just what God had in mind for both of us.
Youth mentoring is focused on children who do not have an active second parent in his or her life. The second parent may have died, is in jail, or has abandoned the family. Youth mentoring is a proven way to lift the spirit of a child and assist in developing them to their fullest potential by becoming emotionally and spiritually healthy for the glory of God.
Are you concerned about fatherless and motherless children? You have the opportunity to make your impact by serving as a mentor for a young child. Do it.