Mentorship Update : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

On October 6th 1998, I began training to become a mentor, by joining the Strive program at the International Falls Backus Building. The following week we inspected the communitiy services facility at the Forest Land Building, then we returned to the Backus Building to discuss child abuse issues. On the third session we studied values; how they develop and change, and how we deal with differences, mostly through oral communication. On the next session we studied parenting skills, child development and evaluation tools. I gained many ideas of what a successful mentor does, and how and not to respond to a student that I9m mentoring. The facilitators ended the evening with an interesting discussion on what makes a teen tick.

During the remaining fall I had called the Strive Program Director on several occassions to see if he had knowledge of a student I could help, but the problem of my location made it difficult and impractical for me to commute to International Falls for visitations. To make a long story short, I could see that I would have to find a local student that would not be difficult to participate in a mentorship with me. During a graphics art class, and at a K-Mart, I had talked to a particular student who was having some problems from an early family breakup plus his recent breaking of a few rules put him on probation. He had been placed in a foster home. I had become familiar with his predicament through his uncle, a pastor of a local church and the student's dad, who had recently returned from living in California. He is a recovering alcoholic and was aimed at rebuilding the life he had thrown away. The Student hated his father and didn9t want anything to do with him. I saw an opportunity to build a friendship between this student and his dad. One of the commonalities that the student and I connected with right away was the relationship I have with my son. In our conversations we talked about how important it is to solve our problems dealing with our friends and relatives. My son had become a teen age college student with a car and a girl friend. The post secondary option did not do my relationship with my son any favors. The student picked up on the problem and identified with me as I longed to solve this family disunity. We discussed ways of repairing the distance between us and came up with a time out day to go fishing. We decided that all four of us would spend the day out on the ice, in order to break the ice with one another.

When the day came the student did not want to go through with the plan. I called him on the phone to persuade him that sweeping it under the rug and never confronting this issue, is a copout. He was finally persuaded and we set out on this adventure. The fishing trip was a success for all of us. We will always view it as a time to remember with fondness. I believe the student has forgiven his dad for all the years that he wasn9t raising and scripting his sons life in love. Now all four of us have a new experience that we can talk about and remember. We want to be friends with our sons and dads, plus build new relationships in wholesome activities with others, knowing that someone cares and we9re not alone. I have a hunch that we will all go fishing together again, very soon.

-- Anonymous, March 30, 1999

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