Let’s Talk About Sex [Pt. 2]

Let’s Talk About Sex Pt. 2:

Learning How to Have the Sex Talk with Your Protégé

The key is to building rapport is creating a foundation with your protégé that can eventually lead to the more in-depth sexual purity conversations. Yet, readers are encouraged to know that the burden of sexual purity conversations doesn’t fall on the mentor alone. The protégé needs to be willing and able to participate in these conversations. Diving straight into the, “Are you having sex?” question without any framework is unwise and could lead to a wall of miscommunication that makes having the conversation even more challenging. This is another reason that parental partnership concerning sexual purity is even more important – there is strength in numbers. No mentor should feel obligated to be the only person who the protégé hears anything regarding sex from. Partnering with and/or building upon what the parent has already discussed is a wise way to talk about sexuality with your protégé, especially from a biblical framework.

If you find that you started on the wrong path in your attempts to talk sexual purity with your protégé leading to a wall of miscommunication, please realize that it’s never too late to start over. Acknowledging the awkwardness (previous and future) can be one of the most valuable ways to initiate or re-establish a conduit by which sexual purity conversations can freely flow. Tell your protégé that you care about them holistically and know that sex is an important aspect of life, hence your desire to talk about it with them.

More Harm Than Help:

Like many of the patients who I spoke with (many of whom had little to no sexual education). I often wondered how different some of their lives would’ve been had someone engaged them in a candid conversation regarding sexual purity (especially at a young age). I served patients whose age ranged from 15 – 80+, and the common thread seemed to be limited knowledge concerning God’s design for sexuality. Although the conversation may seem uncomfortable, remember what was address in the first section check your own heart (2 Corinthians 13:5). Please don’t withhold valuable information or a safe space to vet questions because of personal fears. Also, remember that God is the one who designed sex. Sex is good because God created it for our flourishing and His glory; He is Good. If you can help your protégé to avoid sitting in the chair of a local clinic with little to no understanding of God’s design for sexuality, how sin distorts it, and how to have a healthy relationship with God’s creation – please do it.

Same Sex Attraction:

It’s important that mentors are mindful that some protégés (including elementary aged students) are dealing with and exploring same sex attraction. Considering the media and American culture that seems to value gender fluidity, be mindful that same sex attraction may be more prevalent and more accepted amongst this generation than the generations prior. This article from the Huffington Post states that, “48 percent of “Generation Z,” defined as those between the ages of 13 and 20 in 2016, identified themselves as “exclusively heterosexual.” That means that 52% (more than half) of students age 13 – 20, don’t identify as heterosexual. Gender fluidity has become the new normal, and it’s important for believers to know this and learn how to address it in a loving, biblical, and grace-filled manner. Praying for and seeking God for guidance and going straight to the Bible concerning this area is essential. Share God’s design for sexuality and human flourishing. Sex is meant to be enjoyed between one man and one woman within the context of marriage (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:5). Sin distorts everything including sex, but through Christ all of creation is restored.

The Gospel & Sex:

Ultimately, as a Christian ministry, Champions of Hope believes that the gospel transcends every area of our lives, especially sexuality. The reason sexual purity conversations are often a challenge is because of sin and a spiritual enemy who attempts to make what God deemed beautiful and good, detestable and wicked. Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, their sexualized lives were considered “good,” just as God intended them to be. It’s after sin entered the world through disobedience that sex become taboo, perverted, and a conduit for more sin and ultimately death (James 1:15). But the good news is that God’s love for His creation is what led Him to give us Jesus; God’s only son as a ransom for our salvation. Moreover, as redeemed creation, we can put our hope in the glory that has yet to come, when Christ returns for the final time and judges the living and the dead. He will make all things new and completely in alignment with God’s original design – this certainly applies to our sexuality.

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Let’s Talk About Sex [Pt. 1]

Let’s Talk About Sex Pt. 1:

Learning How to Have the Sex Talk with Your Protégé

Let’s Talk About Sex. For many people, that statement alone produces a cringe-worthy uneasiness. For others, the title may lead to the recollection of a song from the early 90s by Salt ‘N’ Pepa.  Wherever you land on the spectrum between terrified of the very word sex, or a Licensed Sex Therapist, this blog is for you. I lean more on the comfortable side of talking about sex; this is because prior to coming on staff with Champions of Hope, I spent a year working in HIV/STD intervention & prevention as a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS). A DIS is a fancy title for the health professionals who serve communities by interviewing, educating, testing, and notifying community members of any exposure to diseases that can be transmitted sexually (including HIV/AIDS). I learned a lot during my time serving in HIV/STD intervention and prevention. One of the most invaluable life skills was learning to become more comfortable having conversations about sex with complete strangers (without it being too awkward). This required a considerable amount of training, time, hands on experience and literally, the grace of God. But ultimately the most important aspect of my  job was treating each patient like human beings who are created in the Imago Dei.

This brief overview of experience is provided simply to inform readers that although I may feel comfortable having sexual purity conversations this took time and intentionality. The hope is that this blog will serve as a resource to better equip readers to have sexual purity conversations from a biblical framework. The ultimate hope is that through prayer, perseverance, and proximity (to the protégé and their family), sexual purity conversations will become less intimidating and more of a naturally occurring byproduct of Christian mentorship and discipleship.

Partner with the Parent/ Guardian:

Before having sexual purity conversation with your protégé, it is wise to speak with their parent. Ask them if they are comfortable with you talking to their child about sexuality? Ask them how their conversations (or attempted conversations) have gone so far? Share your desire to serve your protégé and them as their parent/ guardian well, and share the Champions of Hope encouragement to have conversations regarding sexual purity with your protégé. Some (but certainly not all) parents may be reluctant about you having sexual purity conversations with their child. If a parent conveys that they don’t want you to talk about sex with their child, please honor their request, and inform your Relationship Coordinator. If they are open to you talking with their child about sexual purity, ask if you can partner with the parents during these conversations.

It’s important to note that not all parents share a Christian view of sexuality. If this is the case for in your relationship, pray for heart transformation and that God will lead your protégé and their family to embrace His truth. Choose to be non-judgmental, and pray for salvation over their entire household. Also, please be reminded an unbiblical perspective of sexuality doesn’t mean that God cannot use you to influence both your protégé and their parent. Move forward with sharing the benefits of sexual purity from a biblical standpoint with your protégé as long as their parents consent. As we will learn in the next section, checking our own hearts, and learning how to serve the protégé and their family (in a non judgmental manner), is one of the most important ways to encourage them to pursue a lifestyle of sexual purity based out of love and obedience to God.

Check Your Heart:

After communicating with the parent and ensuring that they support ongoing conversation with your protégé regarding sexual purity, the next step is extremely important. Before having the sexual purity conversation with anyone (especially your protégé), we must assess our own hearts. Ask yourself, how do I feel about sex personally? What experiences, conversations, beliefs, values, etc. have shaped the way I view sexuality? How did my parents discuss and model sexual purity? Did they speak openly about it? Were they more liberal or conservative within this arena? Did they condemn conversation surrounding sex? Taking a moment to evaluate yourself and your own heart is the first step to having impactful conversations about purity with your protégé.

Ask yourself: Are my beliefs biblical? Is my apprehension rooted in fear or genuine concern for my protégé’s wellbeing? Read these scriptures for a heart check concerning those questions:

  • 1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
  • John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
  • Psalm 27:1 – The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Our own hearts shape the comfort level surrounding sexual purity (or lack thereof) in many mentor-protégé relationships. But the good news is that through prayer, community (support from your RC), and perseverance, these conversations can become normalized and mutually beneficial. Moreover, if you experience any apprehension that is not in alignment with what God’s Word says is true concerning sexuality, please be open to communicating with your RC or a trusted friend who can help you to sort through it.

Take Baby Steps:

The way you start is essential to encouraging  comfort and responsiveness. The more comfortable a person feels, the more personal information they would typically divulge concerning their lifestyle and risk factors. The same tactic can be applied in conversations between mentors and protégés regarding sexual purity. Mentors are encouraged to begin with simple conversation starters like:

  • Is there anyone that you have a crush on at school? Does anyone have a crush on you?
  • Do any of your friends have a boyfriend/ girlfriend? How are their relationships going?
  • What do you think about marriage?
  • Do you want to be married someday? Why or why not?

Monique Alleyne

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The Cross and Culture

There was a level of curiosity being raised through the roof as the keeper of the inn hears the story of the introduction of one stranger to another. The guest of the inn, clearly from the other side of town than his “friend” leaves a look only to be imagined on the hotel manager’s face. Only one day prior, the payor met his floundering acquaintance on the side of the road. His compadre was robbed, beaten out of his clothes and left half dead. Moved with compassion this stranger from the other side of town proceeded to clean him up, gave him a ride and put his lodging cost on his hotel tab. What an unconventional love being displayed towards a stranger.

The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) gives us a model of what it looks like to love our cross-cultural neighbor as our self. Cross cultural ministry is the tough work of uncomfortable empathy, compassion and love towards a “stranger”. By stranger I’m referring to a person of a different culture. In Andy Crouch’s Culture Maker, he defines culture as “what we make of the world”. He communicates that God creates the world and human beings cultivate what he has made; we are to one degree or another culture makers. From the construction of our houses to fashion preferences to behavioral patterns to various social constructs each one of these things are distinct aspects of culture. To be a faithful cross cultural missionary is to acknowledge that we are engaging human beings that have made different things out of the world than us. However, even though we can acknowledge the differences we leave our comfort zone to love them as we would want to be loved in their circumstance.

For the Christian, the cross of Jesus Christ should serve as an impetus to our pursuit of cross cultural engagement. At the cross Jesus literally became what human beings made within the world as our sin substitute (2 Corinthians 5:21 and Genesis 3 for context). Through the peace accomplished through his blood spilt on the cross (Ephesians 2:13-16) he allows every nation the opportunity to be made in right standing with Him. Lastly, the message of what he did on the cross provides the same eternal hope for every nation, tribe or tongue (Revelation 7:9-12) despite our cultural differences.

Points of Application

Appreciate culture but don’t view it as ultimate – While the forgiveness of sins (1 Corinthian 15:3) is of first importance in the Christian experience. A faithful understanding of a cultural narrative can help a cross cultural missionary create a sense of awareness and compassion as they seek to love their neighbors. An informal resource helpful in understanding the cultural narrative of South Dallas is entitled the “Learn to Serve” South Dallas Project and it was created by a South Dallas based home group of the Village Church Dallas Northway Campus. (Summary –  http://bit.ly/2cmoKBd Full – http://bit.ly/29zr3OX)

View the message of the cross as ultimate while loving the people – Understand the gospel and its implications. A faithful comprehension of what God has done for His people should move you to want to share this message of love to people of every walk of life.

Remember the 2nd greatest commandment (Matt. 22:39) – A lot of cross cultural care is no different than same cultural care. Consider intercessory prayer for your protégé, keeping your promises, seeking to understand before trying to be understood or other ways someone would be a blessing to you. Love your neighbor as yourself.

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Wisdom in Future Planning

There are many key things to remember as we help our protégés plan their future. We begin by framing our vision through God’s vison for vocational work as seen biblically. With an objective lens, we assess our protégé’s current life stage. Lastly, we seek to connect the dots between our protégé’s present and their desired vocational future.

Framing work biblically

It is important for us to communicate to our proteges that for a Christian, our work is not the chief end in and of itself. Moreover, we are not primarily working for money, a pat on the back or self-actualization, rather we are working for God to be displayed as ultimate in our work. (Col. 3:23) We see work as a good thing that God has given us as a means of cultivating his creation (Gen. 2:15) even before the emergence of sin into the world (Gen. 3). The Bible also shows us that we pursue our vocational dreams and goals with an understanding that we should be faithful in life planning but with the understanding that God is in charge of the outcome. (Prov. 16:1-4) In brief, as Christians we work Godward. God is the main focus in our work, he has gifted us to be able to work and nothing gets done without Him.

Assessing our protégé’s current life stage

In planning for the future, it is very helpful to critically assess the protégés present life stage. We best make this assessment through asking appropriate probing questions. These questions include but are not limited to, in what areas is my protégé weak? In what areas are they strong? How are they doing academically, interpersonally and Spiritually? What role (if any) does cultural context play in shaping their present reality? Forming an answer to these questions and others like them are key in developing a useful vocational plan for the future.

One resource that our staff would highly recommend to assess the strengths of your protégé is StrengthFinders 2.0 by Tom Rath.

Connecting the dots between the protégé’s present and their desire future

Often one of the major struggles in goal setting with our proteges is helping them connect the dots between their future story and their scholastic and extracurricular performances today. One of the best means of connection is through hearing the full story of their mentors. We encourage mentors to share their full vocational story/testimony (good, bad and ugly) starting when they were their protégé’s age and continuing into the present. We share these stories so that our protégés can see many of our adult pursuits were first engaged and cultivated in the time of our youth.

Helpful Christian resources to help us better understand work –

Every Good Endeavor – Tim Keller

The Call – Oz Guiness, and Culture Maker – Andy Crouch (Artistic or Creative Calling)

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Engaging Families

Today, I want to address a challenge that if ignored often leads to more challenges in mentoring. For many mentors poor communication or lack of relationship with parent/guardian has been the cause of many pitfalls and strains in their mentoring journey. We do not expect you to be best friends with your protege’s guardian but it is important to have a relationship and show respect for their authority in the child’s life. Communicating with the guardian is also something you committed to when you began this process. We know how important that communication is to establishing a solid relationship which is why it is part of the mentoring commitment. That being said, we know and understand it is not always easy. We can easily get discouraged when plans change or phone calls are not returned. I just want to remind you it is not personal. Our families experience everyday challenges like managing work, kids and busyness just as we do. Sometimes though the family loves you and the impact you have had on their child, it may not be their highest priority to get back to you. Be persistent, keep calling and demonstrate Christ’s love and grace not only to your protege but to the family as well.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58

As a mentor with Champions of Hope you are laboring for the Lord. You are pressing into a relationship with a child in South Dallas in order to spread the Gospel and advance the kingdom. This task is far from easy. We just ask you to stand firm and continue to press on even during the challenges. A specific area of communication I want to address is protege’s and cell phones. At one point or another your protege will inevitably get a cell phone. When this happens we hope it will increase communication between the two of you but it should not end communication with the parent. It is great to develop a deeper relationship with your protege but do not sacrifice the relationship with the parent in the process. Parents and guardians know the child’s schedule and are also the final authority for hangouts, so they must be consulted before decisions and plans are made. Continuing communication shows respect to the parent or guardian as well as showing interest in the entire family. We desire for you to become a part of your protege’s family as much as they are willing, so showing interest in other family members, attending sporting events and school award ceremonies is a great way to engage and show you care for the entire family. It is also helpful to start the sharing process by being open with your own life and bring your friends and family in as well. If your family is in town make it a point to visit your protege so they can begin to take part of your life also. Remember, this is about mutual transformation.

I am so thankful for each of you and the ways you are already going above and beyond as mentors! Keep up the good work!

 

Chandler Miner

Relationship Coordinator

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The Gospel According to Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and as many of us are gathered around the dinner table with friends and family, it’s important for us to remember the true meaning of why we give thanks. Yes, we celebrate the national holiday that brings us together, however the Christian perspective of gratitude goes much deeper than remembering the Pilgrims and Native Americans. This idea of giving thanks to the Lord is seen in the Gospel:

1. Made for Thanksgiving (Creation)

Plain and simple, God created us to honor and worship Him. In all that we do we are to give thanks for who God is and what he does in our lives – sustaining and redeeming us. That’s it, nothing else. However, it didn’t take long for us to quickly stray from that purpose.

2. Fallen from Thanksgiving (The Fall)

We have all failed to give God the gratitude He deserves. When we lose sight of God’s purpose for our lives, we fall into sin trying to obtain what he has already promised us. We see that in Adam and Eve. They were made in God’s perfect image, yet they weren’t satisfied and fell into temptation. We may not be eating forbidden fruit today, however we lust over men and women when we aren’t satisfied with God’s design of marriage, we cut corners to earn more money when we don’t think He’s able to sustain us, and take matters into our own hands when we don’t think God will serve justice as He’s promised.

3. Saved by Thanksgiving (Redemption & Life of Jesus)

Thankfully, God didn’t leave us alone in our sin. He sent His son Jesus Christ to live a perfect life on our behalf. He lived in complete obedience to God, never sinning once. Jesus was satisfied with the Father and obeyed His will even to the point of death. It’s in the obedience and thankfulness of Christ where we can find hope that one-day God will restore us to be just like Him.

4. Freed for Thanksgiving (Consummation)

Lastly, we are saved from our ingratitude towards God and hell, and born again to live a life full of thankfulness and worship. We are no longer dead in sin, but alive in Christ through His work on the cross. We are now free to live as the redeemed sons and daughter of God, and look forward to the day when God fulfills His promise and returns to take away all sin from the earth.

So this Thanksgiving when everyone goes around the table and shares what they’re thankful for, remember that we exist to appreciate God and all that He has done for us. Yes, our jobs and success are blessings, and we should be grateful for them, but remember what Christ has done, and the freedom we now have in Him.

-Nathan Elizondo, Relationship Coordinator

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What Does it Mean to Be a Mentor? Part 3

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Today we will look at the remainder of the mentor pledge.  We are so thankful you have chosen to serve alongside us in the South Dallas community and want to make sure you have all the right tools to love your protégé and their family well. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

I commit to recognizing that change often comes in small steps that barely leave footprints, that victories are often unseen or unspoken, and that obstacles will always be present.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.- John 15:16

You may not see the fruit of your labor but I promise you are making a difference. It is so fun to be a coordinator and hear the kids rave about their mentor at school. Each one of them feels so honored to be a part of your life even when it is hard to see. You are planting seeds that we all pray will come to fruition in the future. Know that your time, energy, prayers and investment are not wasted! I know “thank you” is not a common phrase for our kids but that does not mean they do not appreciate what you are doing for them. This is also an opportunity to teach them about gratitude because they may have never heard those words before or seen it modeled.

I commit to remaining sympathetic; to the storms weathered, to the adversity faced, and to the experiences that occur long before this child entered my life.

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.  Romans 12:10-12

It is very important to understand the challenges and obstacles these children face everyday. So much occurs in their lives in between the times they get to spend with you twice a month. Understand that when the child is upset or sensitive it could stem from things that happened days or weeks before and rarely a direct result of something you have done. Keep praying for them; more than anything else you can be another person lifting them up in prayer. Be aware of the various challenges, ask for help and constantly pray for these families!

I commit to realizing; that my actions carry new weight and responsibility, that my role can never be taken lightly, that my life will also change with this experience.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.- Matthew 5:16

Your protégé respects and looks up to you in a way they do not anyone else. The word mentor carries a lot of weight in this community and it is not a job you can take lightly. You have the ability to change the course of another’s life.  You might be the only glimpse of Jesus they ever see and that is a powerful thing. You investment in their life will stick with them forever.  Understand this responsibility and do not get discouraged during the more challenging times but push through to the other side!

I commit to being a mentor.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.- Proverbs 22:6

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! We would be nothing without your willingness to invest in the lives of the children and youth of South Dallas. Thank you for walking along side of us and displaying Christ to your protégés, families and this community. Thank you for mentoring!

-Chandler Miner, Relationship Coordinator

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What Does it Mean to Be a Mentor? Part 2

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Last time we looked at the first two characteristics of a mentor, consistency and modeling. This week we will continue on with the next three characteristics of a successful mentor. I hope these help you understand the depth of the call and importance of your new role.

I commit to encouraging another; by listening, by understanding, by fostering strengths, and by showing empathy.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.- 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I love that this section begins with listening. Though we are the mentors and authority figures listening first is key. We all have plenty of advice to give but to fully understand the situation and give the best input we need to listen first. I also love that this verse says encourage just as you are, you are already doing the work keep going! Just being there is a huge blessing for these kids so know you are doing good work each and every day! We also need to foster strengths, see the great things your protégé brings to the table above the challenges. Be bold in your encouragement, tell them what you see in them and how you have witnessed them grow. Empathize with your protégé and understand their struggles are very different from your own but that does not make them any less significant.

I commit to building a mutual relationship; to enter the world of someone else, to hear about new dreams and challenges, to share my own stories, and to respect the differences between us.

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.– Matthew 7:12

Understand that you will also be impacted and changed by this relationship. No relationship is one-sided but it is easy to see mentoring as only for the benefit of the protégé. You will get out of this what you put into it so the more you invest, the more you will be changed. You will come away a stronger and more understanding because of your protégé and their family. You will learn from this community its strengths and its weaknesses as well as teaching your protégé about your own community. Your world will look very different but just as they are welcoming you into their lives you should also be open with yours.

I commit to asking for assistance; when I need my own support, when the struggles of a child are bigger than I can handle, when I am unsure.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.– Proverbs 12:15

Your Relationship Coordinator is here to support you in whatever area you need as well as the rest of the Champions of Hope staff. It is wise to seek counsel especially in a relationship that is very new to you. Very few people have experience training and equipping a 4th grader or even a 12th grader so please ask for help. We are here every step of the way but we cannot help you if we do not know what is going on. You will be walking with someone else through their highs and lows and we want to support you throughout that journey.

-Chandler Miner, Relationship Coordinator

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What Does it Mean to Be a Mentor? Part 1

 

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The term mentor comes from two Greek words, mentos meaning with purpose, spirit, and passion and meno meaning to remain, abide, continue, be present, wait, endure. I believe this definition gives a whole new weight to mentoring. It is not only a call filled with purpose and passion but also something we are to endure through and be present during. Mentorship is a process and with that comes both high and low points. We have been called to invest, love and commit to the children and youth of South Dallas, what a great opportunity to disciple the next generation!

Each one of us decided to take on new roles when we became a mentor so I want to talk about what those roles are and how we see them play out in our mentoring relationships. The Mentor Pledge outlines these roles very well and gives good insight to the struggles and joys of mentoring. Each section will talk about a commitment that is made when taking on the title mentor but I have also included scripture references to reinforce those points. Over the next couple of months we will look at all eight sections of the pledge but for now we will just dive into the first two. I hope you find this as helpful as I did.

 

I commit to making a difference; to support, guide, and be a role model.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.– Hebrew 13:6

This first section of the pledge is the basic role of a mentor. Each of you, as mentors will make a difference in the life of your protégé but it is up to you what kind of difference you make. You control the conversation and how you respond to the things your protégé brings to the table. Your job is to support, guide and to set an example for how a follower of Christ acts and serves others. You could be the only positive light your protégé sees in a week so take advantage of every opportunity to speak truth. Mentorship is a journey and not a destination so modeling is one of the most valuable resources you have as a mentor. Your actions will always speak louder than your words and your investment will impact them forever. You are most likely the coolest person in the life of your protégé so understand they make note of everything you do. I am amazed at the amount of things they remember when I thought they were not even listening.

 

I commit to being consistent; to be a steady figure over time, to be persistent, and to help another persevere.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.– 1 Corinthians 15:58

This statement is key. Consistency is something that many of our protégés lack. With turn over at school and inconsistency in many families you may be the only steady figure in their life. As a former teacher I was burdened daily by the struggles of a child in a low-income environment but was equally encouraged by how they reacted to my love. They value love and presence above anything else, just having someone around was the biggest blessing for them. Being a consistent figure gives you a new voice of influence whether you see it all the time or not you have the power to speak truth into the life of your protégé. You can also help them persevere. Life in South Dallas can be challenging but your love and unconditional support can make all the difference in the life of your protégé no matter if the child is 10 or 18.  

-Chandler Miner, Relationship Coordinator

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Engaging Shy Protégés

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If you have a very shy protégé you might find engaging with them to a bit of a challenge especially in the beginning stages of the relationship. As an adult mentor it can be hard enough to engage with an out going 4th grader but there are some things that can make it easier.

– Consider spending time on their turf. They will automatically be more comfortable in their neighborhood and around their own siblings and friends.

– Make sure your protégé knows that he or she is important. Shy children are often overlooked at school so mentorship is a unique opportunity to show them their importance and value.

– Plan interactive hangouts where you can be active together. Playing games or running around in the park gives you time to build up trust with your protégé without constantly attacking them with questions. At 10 most every child enjoys being outside so take advantage of that and the free nature of parks.

– If you want to open up more dialogue consider coming up with silly interactive questions- ones you can answer as well.  Ask them if they could be a turtle or a dolphin for a day what would they pick? Then you answer the question as well. Remember embrace your inner 10 year old and be silly along side them. Use this as an opportunity to find common ground as well.

– Try retelling stories; they can be stories from your childhood, bible stories or something you made up. Anything engaging or silly is always a win.

– Another thing that can be really helpful is for you protégé to bring a friend or sibling along during a hangout. They are normally more comfortable and tend to open up more. You will learn about how they interact with their peers and get some more honesty about where they really are. Many times they will talk in the back seats as if you cannot hear them and you will learn more about the way he or she thinks.

– You can also connect with another mentor/protégé pair and hangout together. It can be challenging to coordinate that many schedules but I know from personal experience it can be rewarding.

Most importantly offer lots of encouragement and avoid situations that can be embarrassing. If your protégé does something outside of their comfort zone or talk more one week make sure you highlight that and tell them how much fun you had together. Words of affirmation are key!

-Chandler Miner, Relationship Coordinator

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