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Can I be a mentor?

A letter writer feels that she has a lot to offer — but doesn’t necessarily want a baby.

Our elder has some helpful tips on mentoring children.

Dear EWC

Hi there, I am a single female approaching 36. No husband in sight and no children in sight. But I often think about having young energy in my life, not particularly in the form of a baby. I thought about fostering a child but the thought also scares me. I am grateful for my freedom and flexibility now. I don’t have a ton of support, as most of my family is a couple hours away. I have a boyfriend but I don’t see it going anywhere serious right now. So I think about these things for me, as a single woman. I’d hate to wake up at 40 having lived my whole life selfishly, and lonely. Not that, that’s why I’d want a young person around. Loneliness. I am not right now. I think that I can offer someone a lot and vice versa. I am responsible and emotionally stable. Maybe mentoring would be a good start. I guess I’m looking for advice on someone who didn’t have children of their own, because I’m not sure if I ever will. Thank you so much.

Pure-Sue replies

I’m glad you wrote in asking for wisdom. You made a wise choice.

There are a lot of people who have decided not to be parents. Some reasons match yours, a non-committed relationship, lack of family close by for backup and the world at large with all its issues.

Some even in committed relationships have decided not to parent as they understand that having a child is a full time job with a no returns option, no exchange options, with a full serving of a commitment on the side.

I respect and admire your honesty of knowing an infant isn’t a match to your life and fostering a child scares you. Knowledge is a wonderful tool and without it mistakes are often made that are irreversible. Brava! This is especially true with children. A well thought out plan is important and imperative here and key in raising a natural child or mentoring one.

Having a child alone no matter what age from infancy on up, requires time, patience, finances, responsibility and an emotionally stable parent/mentor to help prepare a child for life in this world. And your thoughts on mentoring seem like a perfect way to ease into the experience of having a young person around.

Children bring the vitality you say you desire and you allow you to bring your vitality as well. You will get to bring many personal things to offer this person as what you have to offer along with patience and care is a lot.

It is important to realize that this young person comes with their own set of interests, memories, impressions, joys and pains. They are not a clean slate. And no matter if a natural child, adopted, or mentored, is something to take into consideration as that may impact your decision.

Mentoring a child is definitely not a walk in the park, but if you are in the mindset to make a positive difference in someone’s life and future, as well as expand your own life in a way that cannot be duplicated, it is clearly a wonderful idea to investigate.

Let’s face it; we all want to be important in someone’s life as well as in our own. We want to leave an imprint on humanity and pass that forward.

It is an enormous gift to want to express the love you feel and to welcome that love into your life. I commend you for even the idea of doing so.

We are the mirrors for our youth. Our values become theirs, our fears become theirs, and our desires become theirs too.

Depending upon what state you live in, there are mentoring programs that you can look into to begin having a conversation with.

The next very important part to consider is you and knowing yourself in the best and worst aspects of your life. It’s wonderful at almost 36 that you are considering such an option. And please note that 36 is not old by any means and neither is 40. It is a prime time to engage with a child.

With that said, I suggest if you haven’t already done so, to make a list of the pros and cons of mentioning a child. Your thoughts on gender, race, age, family background, siblings, as well as having to following the possible requirements that can look like: completing a screening and training process, sometimes committing a year and spending at least four hours in-person a month with establishing monthly goals as per the state or organization’s rules.

The next list should be solely about you. Personal thoughts on why this means so much to you. Reasons that make you dig deep. Personality traits that you like and dislike about yourself and your background and family members. Your gifts and the values you can offer. Your level of patience and ability to respect and work through some serious issues that may be foreign to your upbringing, etc.

As a person who works with children, I find the opportunity to learn more and more about myself. Especially how not to step on their natural propensity to be as open and honest as can be. They are such remarkable teachers if you allow them to be.

Often as adults we have baggage from family, traditions and religious dogma that we can be confused and damaged by. This is not an area you want to be unclear on within yourself. Remember this list is for you solely and only if you decide, can share it with another.

Kids bring fun, creativity, dreams, laughter, toilet humor and nakedness into everyday life. Can you be on board with that? I have a feeling you can.

Will you be a positive influence in a child’s life by building a solid relationship even when you are upset or disappointed? A caring adult makes a difference with so many of the obstacles small or large that children come up against. At times you will be unsure of answers and techniques to guide a child in need but sincerity always shines brightly and answers are revealed.

Mentoring provides many benefits for a child that rubs off on the proud mentor. These include greater participation in school, improved school attendance, and better overall life performance, balancing life and its challenges to name a few.

Please know, though this reply may sound a bit harsh and honest, it is because children stack up under a different category and should. It is so important to offer them the opportunity to be loved and to shine in their own skin.

I love this quote, “Mentoring relationships are a shared opportunity for learning and growth”.

So please take my words with considerable thought, love and respect with your prospective future with kids. Only once you are armed with your own reasons and personal truths can you be the best representative of how to show up in this world for a child and with one.

As a mentor, I must add the rewards are enormous as well as heart wrenching, so worth any of the challenges and pitfalls.

I wish you wonder, in delving deep within yourself. I wish you wonder in open discussions with your family, friends and your partner. And a constant open dialogue from within.

Feel free to let me know what you decide and if you do mentor the experiences you are sharing together.

Letter #: 433961
Category: Children

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