Sowing Seeds of Hope: The Long-term Impact of Mentoring
by Sally Brown, Director of Mentoring at Ezekiel Ministries
While many moments in mentoring are positive, there are also moments that are challenging. You want the absolute best for your mentee, and while they listen to your words of wisdom, their actions might not change.
When I was in high school, my dad had taken my car to get gas in it. In the tape deck I had a tape of a song I really liked. The lyrics were not positive.
I remember him coming into the house that day and commenting on what I was listening to. He didn’t throw the tape away and he didn’t make a big deal about it, but he did tell me that I should listen to the lyrics of the song closely and I could tell he was disappointed. I remember saying, “I’m not really paying attention to the lyrics, I just like the beat.”
My dad’s comments didn’t change my actions. I went right on listening to what I wanted to listen to. I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes and felt like it wasn’t any of his business. It was my car. It was my tape.
Years later, I think back and remember conversations such as these, and I don’t roll my eyes, but I think, “Wow, my dad cared enough to speak truth to me, and he did that because he loves me.”
That story illustrates an important principle in mentoring, that seeds planted may take years to bear fruit.
Our mission at Ezekiel Ministries is mentoring kids from hard places in partnership with local churches. Mentoring coaches remind mentors and parents that there is hope. We encourage mentors and parents to keep leaning in, keep praying and keep building relationships through showing up, listening and guiding.
One of our coaches, Brent, likens this to a peach tree. You can plant a seed, and create the best environment possible; good soil, sunlight, water, fertilizer, weeding, pruning, etc. However, it will still be YEARS before you get a peach. A mentoring relationship also takes time to bear fruit.
Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
As a teen, I made many choices that my parents did not agree with. Looking back now, I know that their wise words conveyed that they loved me. Ironically, I now say some of the exact same things to my kids and the mentees God has placed in my life!
Mentors, never grow weary in doing good, never give up. Have patience, because there is hope. For at the proper time, there will be a great harvest!