This month, we’re focusing on four powerful ways we can make the most of the hour we spend with the students we mentor. One hour a week one-on-one with a student may not sound like much, but it’s a worthwhile investment of time. And, if you make the most of it, it truly is powerful. As mentors, we cannot underestimate the powerful influence we can have in students’ lives through our presence, play, and positivity.
This week, we want to take a minute to talk about the power of patience. When we bring patience into our mentoring relationships, we bring more than a nice virtue.
We bring a long-term perspective. Students often live with little thought of the future. The temptation is to live in the moment without thinking about how today’s choices impact future opportunities. When we teach/model patience to our students, we are helping them see the value of looking beyond today. We are teaching them the value of putting in the effort and time it takes to succeed rather than settling for the short-term buzz of living a life of instant gratification.
We instill confidence. When we bring patience into our mentoring relationships, we don’t quit on them. We stick with them through thick and thin. We encourage them, challenge them, and cheer them on. All of these things require patience, because nobody’s perfect. Our students will make mistakes. But, we can instill confidence in them if we choose to be patient and continue to invest in their lives as they grow into healthy, confident adults.
We model perseverance. Students today are growing up in a fast-paced, instant gratification culture. And, the opportunities are there if they are willing to put in the time and effort. However, distractions are limitless. Patience is a virtue that students need as they both live in the present and look to the future. One of the highlights of mentoring is being able to walk with students through this time of their life where their decisions now will impact their opportunities later. We can teach/model perseverance by showing them what patience looks like in everyday interpersonal relationships and by committing long-term to investing in their lives as mentors.
However, you end up bringing patience in your mentoring relationships, don’t underestimate the value it can bring as you seek to make a lasting impact.
Together, we can make a difference in students’ lives today, and a powerful investment in our communities that will last for years to come.
Jason Matthews is a youth pastor in Washington State, where he’s been serving students for over 20 years. When he doesn’t have to be in the office, he loves to be outside with his family, hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest. He also loves to network with other youth workers.