I Give Up

Letter to Mentor – hurt and discouraged by the lack of change and response from her 9 year old mentee who is living in a Children’s Home.

The first thing we want to say is that we value you as a mentor and we appreciate every hour of time you have given and all the effort you have put into making this relationship work. We know it has been hard and you have had to dig deep, but we also know that it’s this very thing that has made an impact on your mentee – even though you can’t see it. And you have likely also grown from the experience; exercising such perseverance and commitment despite the outward appearance of “failure”.

We cannot fully know what is going on inside of your mentee emotionally, nor can we understand the impact that her background has had on her ability to form strong bonds and attachments. However what we do know, and what every mentorship programme that works with vulnerable children will tell you, is that the mere act of showing up week after week, being present and showing her that you care enough about her, despite the fact that she isn’t “behaving” in a way that encourages your efforts, has made a huge difference in her life and she will carry this with her into adolescence and adulthood.

If only we as mentors could know how little self-esteem and confidence these children have we would have greater understanding of why it is that they don’t respond in a “normal” way. Not only do they not have confidence in themselves, but very little confidence in adults who are the ones responsible for the pain and hurt they have suffered through no fault of their own. Our expectation of mentoring should not be to see transformation happen now, but to be a conduit through which transformation can take place at its own pace. Some mentors report not seeing any change in their mentees whatsoever during the mentorship period, but it has been related to them years later by the mentee who sought them out that the time they spent together impacted significantly on their lives and led them to make certain life changing decisions as adults.

Please don’t see this as a failure on your part. You are showing up, you are consistent and if nothing else you are showing your mentee that not all adults reject and disappoint her. This is enough. You are enough.

Your Mentorship Team

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