So just like many of you we have been in close quarters these last few weeks and I would say the first 10 days were probably the most difficult as we all tried to find our places.
I went from a parent who allowed my child to act responsibly and independently to a mother who felt compelled to micro-manage all activities including school work, personal hygiene, and meal times.
I officially started the cycle with my behavior change, and in turn my children retaliated with attitude. You all know what I am talking about. And this probably would have continued had we not just a week prior engaged the services of a youth mentor for our son. Little did I know how valuable this was going to be as we headed into the uncharted territory of Covid-19 shut down.
The voice of reason came in the form of extremely knowledgeable, articulate man whom at first glance looked more like a skateboarder/snowboarder dude as he sported long hair and some facial stubble. Clearly he was way too cool for me, but he would be perfect for my skateboarder/snowboarder son.
Christian, mentors young men in the Salt Lake Valley area, and upon our initial meeting he greeted me with a warm smile and projected a sense of energy and optimism that I felt I let wither away in the last few months.
What I wanted to know very simple. How he was going to help?
Christian’s plan was on target with what we were looking for, for our son. We wanted to provide to our son, a person to trust, someone other than us, his parents to confide in, someone to help him tackle some tasks that were overwhelming him, and help him create a vision for his next steps; employment, or additional education beyond high school or both.
It has only been a few weeks and I can already see the sense of relief that has come over my son, and very unexpectedly the same has occurred for me.
I didn’t expect to learn anything from this process other than my son will listen to anyone but me. And even that isn’t correct. My son does hear and even listens to my words. But those words are really hard to hear through the noise of demands and micro-managing.
What is the moral here? Not really sure there is one other than to say, I have benefited from my son having a mentor. It takes some of the stress and panic off of me, and it allows me to be the person and parent I like being. One who is back to allowing my child the room to be independent and make mistakes, with a little safety net that isn’t mom or dad.
So I no longer identify with the need to consume my young, and instead I am extremely content to let my children continue to live and learn and flourish.
Mentorship is an amazing concept that I never considered for my child, even though I have had personal experiences with it. I guess I felt is was a cop-out, as in letting someone else deal with the issues. But that was a false premise on my part. Mentorship for my son has brought a different perspective, that of an adult that is not his parent, and in turn very unexpectedly it has made me a better parent.
Like many things, resources are often limited by location. Utah is the hotbed of mental health resources and mentorship models. I am very blessed that I live in an area where it wasn’t difficult to find what I needed.
But if it doesn’t look that way where you live, don’t give up. Continue to search your area for your Christian or a company similar to his Youth Mentors SLC.
Stay safe. And if you enjoyed this post I ask that you please share it with friends.