In all the years I’ve been blogging, it’s only now occurred to me that I haven’t dedicated a post to something that is important to me and my daily life. I just sat here and thought, ‘Nat, you haven’t spoken about mentoring‘.
For those who don’t know me, I’ve been working with children/young people since I was 17. Yes, I was a child myself. I don’t think I intentionally set out to work with children/young people, it just happened. Over the years and no matter the roles, I’ve always fallen into the position of the mentor whether I liked it or not. I remember being in a managerial role in a school many years ago. There was a restructure. They ‘told me’ I would have to take up mentoring as two members of my team were departing. I was resentful as it wasn’t my focus and I didn’t want to actively be known as a mentor while running a department. I didn’t feel equipped. I didn’t feel like it was my forte. What I didn’t know at the time is that I was a natural mentor. How could I not have known. The way I worked then and now was undefined mentoring.
My mum has always told me ‘you’re good with children’. She realised my abilities long before I did. Other close ones realised and recognised the ability too. I’ve never been good at crediting myself so I often downplay my talents, skills and abilities. I know, I need to work on that. If I’m being deeply honest, I’ve always had the ability to engage and connect well with most children. Not all, but most. Goes for adults too.
In recent years I’ve learned to understand why mentoring is so important. I had a mentor in Secondary school and in College. I’ve also had role models all around me throughout my growth. Having deeply thought about this, I’ve realised that the support, time, patience, structure and guidance that was given to me, has in fact enriched my life and has instilled many values I hold close today. I thank you all. I will continue to pay it forward.
I am a natural listener and a big carer. I feel children and young people need and deserve to speak in a safe space and unpack what can sometimes hold them back. Mentoring isn’t just for troubled children/young people, let me make that clear. I want people to know that mentoring can be used as a tool to challenge mindsets, re-shift focus or bring alternative perspectives to the forefront. Mentoring can be powerful. Mentoring is care. The mentee may learn about themselves through the eyes of another. It can offer the opportunity for reflection. I know I learn about myself when I mentor. I learn more about my communication, compassion, abilities, purpose, intent and knowledge. I am great at what I do and I need to celebrate this more. I’m great because I have been universally called to do this. My ability to ‘reach’ is natural and not forced (a word of advice, children hate it when you force anything, that includes forcing to talk or if you force your intended care upon them. Don’t do it. Children often know who is genuine from a mile off).
As I conclude, I have to openly express how grateful I am to have such a vocation. I’m grateful to the young people who are now adults and check in on me or still ask for advice. To the young people who have said thank you. To the parents who have allowed me to know I have helped in some way. To the people I have worked with over the years; I thank you because many of you have kept me here. I’m thankful for the recommendations. I thank my family and loved ones for the support when it has been given.
I am a mentor because I want to see others flourish, address challenges, foster positive communication skills, identify self worth + awareness, tackle fear, realise their abilities, understand their emotions and more. Most of all, I care.
Children are amazing beings. Their wellbeing and spiritual wellbeing is important. Learning happens everyday and they deserve to learn how worthy and necessary they are to this world.
Thank you also to those who have left testimonials. Testimonials are huge and meaningful gifts to me. I’m so grateful you’ve shared your story about my impact.
Lastly, a huge shout out to all the mentors positively helping children/young people see a brighter day. I see you ❤