Embracing Mentorship

The greatest feeling in the world is the feeling of watching someone you are close to and grow up to be a great person under your influence. Obviously, becoming a parent will provide plenty of these emotions, but not everyone has the ability or the yearning to take care of a child all day, every day. Young adults, in particular, want to assume an authoritative role, but are not yet ready for parenthood. So how can anyone, regardless of age, become a mentor? Read on to find out.

Many organizations, like Big Sisters or Big Brothers, pair up younger children who are having difficulties socially, emotionally, or academically with a responsible, commendable older ‘sibling’. With your young charge, you go on out trips, teach them life lessons, give them advice, and help them with schoolwork. After all, you have (perhaps marginally) more life experience than them. As time goes on, your younger sibling will start to emulate your positive actions and take your words to heart, looking up to you as a role model. If you don’t want to commit long term, there are many other places out there which offer once in a while opportunities, so be sure to spend some time searching for listings in your area.

If structure and formal mentoring are not what you’re looking for, consider babysitting the kids in your neighborhood. There are plenty of parents searching for someone responsible and enthusiastic to take their children on an out trip for a day, giving them the chance to take a day off. Be friendly, approachable, and listen well to what the kids say; but be sure to impart some of your wisdom on to them as well. Try to look to them as equals instead of inferiors, and keep an open mind. You might end up making more than a few new friends (and some money too).

Most schools offer programs where you sign up to volunteer at a sister elementary school. After you sign up, you get assigned a younger buddy, and the two of you spend the day together when the schools meet up for field trips. In addition, you have the chance to write letters to them, receive crafts from them, and make a friend for life. Keep in touch even after the program ends and you can still visit each other outside of school and possibly be lifelong friends.

Even if you do not have anyone to mentor, you can still be a role model by being positive, respectful, and kind to people in general. You never know who is watching. If you keep being the best self you can be, your goodness may rub off unintentionally on to the kids (and everybody else) in the community, so set yourself up to mentor not just a few children, but your neighborhood at large.

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