November 20, 2011

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A Good Girl with a Broken Heart

Mentor: Someone whose hindsight can become your foresight.

It is extremely difficult to invest in a child/teenagers life and know that everything you have given may not make a difference. Yet, there are many positives to volunteering in this manner. When I was working with youth, I began mentoring a young lady. She came from an extremely broken home- never having both parents under the same roof in her lifetime.

One way that she struggled was her self-esteem. She was emotionally needy in the relationship arena and tried to use young men to fill the holes in her heart. This was such a heart-breaking thing to watch. I would often say to her, "Perhaps if you focus on your school…"

This was to no avail. I could not pull her away from the crowds she was running with. I could not help her to refocus. We talked very openly about the consequences of her actions. We referred back to things in my life, her mother’s life and other people she knew but nothing could help her. By the tender age of seventeen, she was pregnant. Though not a shock, I was heart-broken. I helped her through her pregnancy and she gave birth to a beautiful little boy.

This is when things began to change for my young friend. She was no longer by herself. She had someone else to care for. She began to see the consequences that we had talked about and didn’t want that for her child. She lived at her mother’s home with the child. She tried to focus on him but she was very young. At that point, I tried to encourage her to finish school. There was help in our county for girls who have babies. She did not return to school but she did take excellent care of her son. I knew that he would be okay. In the span of time, I lost contact with her. I often wonder how she is. Did she get an education in order to make a better life for her child? Did she have other children? These questions are left unanswered for me.

Some people would question why I would place myself in the path of the hurt that comes from mentoring (caring about) a child whose emotional issues where not easily fixed. They would wonder if I gained anything. Honestly, I did gain. I gained wisdom. I gained patience. Ultimately, I gained an understanding of human nature that surpasses anything I could have read about in a book. Did I make a difference? I don’t know. If you add up all of the facts- it might not look like it. Yet, I believe that when she looks back on her teen years, she will remember our times together. She will reflect on the things that we talked about and she will grow from them. She was a good girl with a broken heart. I did not break her heart so I could not fully fix it. My role was to stand by her. It is my hope that she uses her hindsight to be someone else’s foresight and gives back as she gets older.

Have you mentored a young person before? I would love to hear your story. It is an amazing way to give back.


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