Well, it would appear that Spring has finally sprung this year! And with that comes the fun of finally getting to be outdoors with your protégé. Especially for the younger children in our program, this is a time of immense energy and excitement. As a mentor, the desire can often be one of finding creative ways to expend that energy and provide new, fun opportunities for your protégé. The piece that many mentors express that feels lacking is that of intentionality and depth. How do you mix fun, high energy activities with deep, intentional hangout times?
Most of the relationships in your life don’t require either party to sit down, plan out what’s going to be said, and figure out how to wisely utilize the time spent together. This relationship with your protégé is very different. From the beginning, you probably felt the Lord tugging on your heart to get involved and to mentor a child with CoH. That small step is what made this relationship special and very different from the relationships that naturally form in your life. For most of our mentors, there is a big age gap, cultural and economic differences, and even religious variances between them and their protégé. To connect is going to take a great deal of PRAYER, planning, and intentionality on the part of the mentor. So, while you might “just be going to the park,” there’s a great deal more happening! Prayer is what often opens our eyes and heart to this truth. I’d encourage you to bathe all your hangout times in prayer.
Sometimes, you will feel a bit like your mom did when she disguised veggies in your favorite meal. We want to have fun and enjoy hanging out together but use those times for a lot more than just having a good time. At CoH, we have come up with five areas of what we feel like are pillars for working through needed heart change in our kids. You maybe have heard them referred to as the 5 S’s: Salvation, Service, Sexual Purity, School, and (Future) Story. Use these as a foundation for your hangouts. Start your time together with prayer, pray before eating a meal together, do a short devotional while you’re driving somewhere, or memorize a verse together. Here are some other ideas of how to be intentional:
—Incorporate “salvation” themes as a rhythm in all your times together.
—Model what it means to be a man/woman of the Word.
—Find somewhere to do small (or big) acts of service together, be it in their house/neighborhood or your own. It doesn’t have to take up your entire hangout, but just be intentional about modeling what it means to be a man/woman with a heart to serve.
—When your protégé is younger, the topic of sex doesn’t come up as often, but pay careful attention to build a foundation of comfort for them to approach you to talk about the opposite sex. Watch how they interact with their peers or how they talk about celebrities, ask questions, and model what it means to be a man/woman of purity.
—School is probably the easiest of all the S’s to tie into your hangouts. There is ALWAYS homework to be done, projects to ask about, grades to inquire about, and reading or math to improve upon! Figure out what area of school is their weakest and try to support and help their guardians in building up those areas. Model what it means to be a man/woman that values learning and growth.
—Model what it means to plan and prepare for the future by talking regularly about their goals and growth as well as your own.
Every hangout can be fun, but with a little planning and a lot of prayer, they can also be purposeful!
-Christina Hickman, Relationship Coordinator