Everyone has heard of “mentors”, but they may not actually know why they are so important exactly why they are so important. I will be honest with you, I was so grateful that I had daughters, especially when it became obvious that I would be raising them alone. I was utterly terrified that somehow because I am a woman, that if I had a son, I would somehow be damaging him. I had no clue of how a single mom toilet trains her son, and I had nightmares of a son coming into the bathroom with me until he was 16., I also had an overwhelming fear of him having to watch strange men in public bathrooms to learn how to use the toilet. Neither of those thoughts made me feel better when I thought about them.
Now, I’m a few years older and a whole lot wiser, so I know that those were both two of the weird pregnancy fears that happen sometime. Obviously, women can raise sons very well on their own, and that eventually every healthy child figures out how to use the bathroom. I also know that it is pretty common for children of either gender to need to talk to someone that they are not related to. I don’t mean counseling, but someone to hang out with, talk about hobbies with, and learn about life with.
Mentors in the Public School System
Some public schools have recently began to offer mentor-ship programs. In this program, a younger child is paired with either an older student from the same school, or occasionally a college student, and they work together in an effort to improve the child’s self-esteem, problem solving skills, academic performance, or other issues that have been identified as being objects of concern. Anytime that mentors are picked by the school, or when interaction takes place on school campus, a background check is likely to be done on the adult mentors. However, to be on the side of caution, you might want to consider double checking that all individuals who interact with your child have been properly screened.
Choosing the Right Mentor For Your Child
It is important for your son or daughter to have input in on the person you choose for them to spend time with. A good topic to cover before you even have a mentor in mind, is what kind of qualities you would like your child to learn about from this person.
If your child loves basketball, and you trip over both of your left feet, perhaps you would like them to spend time with someone who’s good on the court. If your daughter tends to be shy, she might do well with someone who is a very effective communicator. Someone with above average communication skills could be perfect for getting her to talk without your daughter knowing someone is getting her to talk. Obviously, you don’t have to tell your daughter that, though.
I have also been told that it is important for children and teenagers to spend time with adults that share their common interests. It is thought to be associated with higher self-esteem and improve their ability to communicate, both privately and in public. Plus, it’s always nice to know that they use the manners you have spent so much time teaching them, even when you are not anywhere around.
Big Brothers And Big Sisters
This organization is almost definitely one of the oldest groups around. They helped their first young man achieve his greatest potential in 1904, and have continued to do so ever since. Around the same time, the Ladies of Charity began a program aimed towards young ladies make good decisions.
The Ladies of Charity helped girls who came through the New York court system, and the Big Brothers began when a Court Clerk in the same area noticed that many of the same boys were being seen in the court over and over again.
The two remained separate until 1977, when they became a single entity that has since been known as “Big Brother Big Sisters Of America”. Currently, this illustrious organization can be found in all fifty states and in 12 other countries as well. In 2010, President Obama held a White House National Mentoring Month Ceremony, where Big Brothers and Big Sisters played a significant part.
If you would like to find a mentor for your child, or if you are interested in actually being a mentor, you can look through their website here: http://www.bbbs.org/site/c.9iILI3NGKhK6F/b.5962335/k.BE16/Home.htm.
A variety of smaller and lesser known mentor-ship programs are found all over the United States, and in many other countries as well. A child that is considered high risk for any reason, including poverty, abuse, neglect, or other factors is likely to be considered. If you would like to find an agency that will help you appoint an mentor for your child, you can ask at your child’s school, at a local church, or by visiting http://www.211.org/.
Wanting a mentor for your child does not mean that you are not doing a great job raising them. It simply means that your child may do even better in the future if they have some extra guidance. It’s hard to be a single mom, and when people are there to help make sure that your son or daughter has the best possible future, there is no reason not to let them. After all, that old phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” had to start somewhere.