I am not a runner by choice and, yet, I find myself running every day…picking up kids, going to sporting events, grocery store, work, mailbox, lawn mowing. If you do life…you run…every day. Competitive short distance sprinters can see their finish line and run straight for it as fast as they can. But life isn’t like that. And being a mentor with Care 4 Kids isn’t a short distance race. It is a marathon for both the mentor and the student. We must find milestones for which to aim…not finish lines.
“P” had been a mentor for three years. Her student, “T”, now runs in the 3rd grade. He is a fan of Legos. In first grade he barely spoke and could not read the directions to even the simplest Lego creation. In second grade he opened up a little and began to listen as “P” read the directions. “T” would piece some things together as he grasped the concept of listening and applying. This year the young man walked right up to “P” and said, “I really need you to help me.” And help she did. It had been tough finding people who would help him in his young life. A distant father and challenging relationships made it hard to ask for help and even harder to receive it.
“P” had a very complicated puzzle at home. She brought it to school and the two of them jumped right in working it all out. The day came when they could no longer keep it at school, so “T” took it home. “P” figured that was it for the toy…it would stay in pieces and parts.
On the very next visit “T” galloped toward her in an almost sprint and told her that his father had helped him Monday evening until after midnight, and they had finished! It was a masterpiece to them both…a collection of New York Skyscrapers. “T” was so proud and talked their whole time together about his father and the stories they shared while putting the puzzle together.
Third grade is not a finish line, nor is a grand evening between an estranged father and a hungry son. But they are milestones…big ones! And the tour guide along this journey is a very gifted mentor who knows life isn’t about those short distant races. This is a marathon. All we can do is make the journey worth running.