One of the most difficult words to say must be “Bye”. Sure there are the exceptions when one says good bye with a smile, like when that unwanted house guest announce he is ready leave or the incompetent contractor finally packs up his toolbox or bidding the taxman ba-bye for another year. Most of the times, thought, good byes are difficult.
Saying farewell mostly goes along with a feeling of loss, sadness and uncertainty about what the future holds. This is especially true for our mentors who have served a period of time as a Bright Stars mentor and for some one-or-another reason reach the end of their journey with their Little Star. Facilitating this farewell is one of the most challenging conversations to have. One has to remember that times and priorities change as circumstances change in your life. There are very valid, understandable reasons for saying goodbye but it by no means makes it any easier.
In a season of saying good bye it always helps to reflect on what has been learned from the time together. We recommend that mentors and mentees chat about their highlights, their accomplishments and also about lessons learned from mistakes made in a final meeting. We also recommend taking about what the future holds and the prospects of new relationships and opportunities that lies ahead. It is never an easy decision to make and I commend all the mentors who served a season with Bright Stars. You planted some seeds and although you might not be there to see the fruit, we trust that your lasting impact of love, commitment and care continues to grow in the heart of that child.
As I stand at the door waving goodbye to yet another blessed and beautiful season of my life, I too want to take a brief moment to reflect. If I have to list my highlights as part of the Bright Stars team, I’d have to single out two aspects of the experience. Firstly the mentor mixers, socials and feedback reports. The most special moments where I could see and experience the beauty of a bond between a caring adult and a vulnerable child in a mentorship relationship. The heart of Bright Stars in flesh and blood. To see a mentor encourage a child to be brave, be confident, be grateful. To see the children bringing smiles to their mentors’ faces with hugs or subtle improvements and personal accomplishments that nobody else might notice. To hear the aching hearts of mentors wanting to do their best in helping a child, to hear the great and creative ways that they come up with activities, projects, games, excursions, interventions…giving their absolute all in an hour a week, sometimes more.
The second highlight would have to be the leadership and guidance I received throughout. The Bright Stars team entrusted to me this opportunity which I often did not know if I could live up to. Ruth, Justin, Cathy and Sandi believed in me, encouraged me, prayed for me, praised me, helped me and mentored me in the most delicate and sincere way that anyone could ever hope for. It has been such a privilege that I can only hope to pay forward in life if ever I have the opportunity to lead.
I learned so much and dare not take up hours and hours of your time dear reader with all that I have gained in my brief time as part of this amazing team of peace agents. I simply trust that all that I have learned will be apparent in any future endeavours that come my way that I will be able to take on with more confidence, more competence, more compassion, a greater understanding and appreciation for the immense value of all -ALL- human life and renewed enthusiasm about the difference that individuals can make! As with all the Bright Stars and Little Stars who have ever been part of this programme, mentorship has been engraved in my heart and will forevermore be part of my life and priorities.
As this door close, another is already slowly creaking open…a season of motherhood instead of mentorship awaits me and I am sure that I am in for an absolute adventure with two the precious little souls entrusted to us.
I trust that, even though I wave goodbye, it is not farewell forever as I will always support this amazing life changing project and wish you all well, former mentors, mentors, prospective mentors and team.
It has been a blessing and honour to serve with you!