Hearing it helps me believe it
Updated: Sep 13
I’m mentoring a 6th grade boy named Case.
In our first conversation, he told me that my name was too short and that he was going to call me Coach Bethany rather than Coach Beth. I laughed and told him I’d allow it. Our very next conversation started a lot differently. We were outside at recess. He approached me,
“Coach Bethany... do you hate me?” I looked at him and saw in his eyes that he wasn’t joking. “Case, why would I hate you?” He shrugged and looked at the ground. “Everyone else does. Why would you be any different?” Case would ask me that same question every time I saw him during the after-school program. I started meeting him at the front of the building every day. He was always the last kid to get off the van. While we'd walk down the hallway to his classroom, I’d say something like: “Case , it always makes my day when I see that you’re on the van.” “Case , I am so glad you’re here.” “Case , I love hearing your thoughts because you’re always so wise.” He would say, “Why do you say that?” and I’d reply, “Because it’s true.” He would say, “Okay” and smile while walking into his class. Inevitably at some point in the day, he would still come to find me and ask me that same question. “Coach Bethany, do you hate me?” And each time I’d tell him, “No Case , I care about you and I feel very honored to know you.” This went on all year. One day he asked that question, and I decided to flip it on him. “Case, do I hate you?” Case smiled. “No. I know you love me. Hearing it helps me believe it.”
Your words matter. They help your mentee know that they are loved and have value. Be intentional about building up your mentee today. You never know the impact it could have.