Are You My Mentor?
“Are you my mentor?”
These are the first four words I heard from one of our newest Foundations program students when I walked into Northlake Elementary my first week on staff at Forerunner.
Are you my mentor? Are you here for me?
He didn’t say it in desperation. It wasn’t a cry for help. He was just interested to know why I sat down next to him instead of the other boys. He asked with hopeful eyes and joyful curiosity.
So how did I respond?
I told him, “No, I’m not your mentor, but your mentor will be here someday real soon.” This is all true: I’m not his mentor, but my job is to find him one. Literally, that IS my job (check my email signature).
But his short, four word question made me believe in what we’re doing in a fresh way. One of the phrases you'll hear often at Forerunner is, “Relationships Change Lives,” which we believe wholeheartedly. But the ideas we usually have in our head when we say that are much too lofty. This phrase is more simple than you think. We need to add normal to that phrase.
Normal Relationships Change Lives.
Our boys aren’t looking for extraordinary. They’re looking for ordinary, commonplace father-figures. From our boy’s perspective, if a mentor shows up to be with them, they’ve already made an impact. Average Joe mentors might as well be one of the Avengers in our boy's minds.
"I'm here for YOU."
I can’t wait to pair this kid with a mentor next week. And when I do, and he asks that same question, his answer will be this simple:
"Yes, I’m your mentor.
I’m here for you. To see you, to hear you, to know you.
I’m here to get down on your level and sit in your world.
I’m here to let you know you’re doing a great job.
I’m here to ask you questions and engage your imagination.
I’m here to encourage you and speak truth into your life.
I’m here to spend time with you.
I’m here for YOU."
In March, we were able to add 13 new mentors into the pipeline. 13 more mentors for 13 more questions, “Are you here for me?” Those 13 mentors might as well be Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, T'Challa…
Your support means the world to us. Thank you for your generosity, for supporting the work we do, the relationships we make, and the lives we change. Normal relationships change lives. You make it happen.
Stephen Murray / Director of Mentoring