Andrea Davidson began working as our Match Support Specialist in spring of 2018 after working with kids in school and church environments for several years. Already, she has shown her strong work ethic, wise sense of discernment, and sweet heart for children.
I have worked with young people throughout my adult life. I spent four years as an elementary school teacher and three of those years were also spent helping with the youth group at my church. Talking with children can be very fun! They have the best stories and creative imaginations! Many times though, it is just exhausting. Am I really making a difference? Are they even listening to me?! Occasionally, there is that moment, a breakthrough, an understanding, that makes it all worth it.
I recently had one of these moments with a girl in my church’s youth group. One girl, we’ll call her Jane, has consistently told me how much she enjoys getting in fights and throwing punches. We had been talking about how to react when you are angry at someone, and other options to take besides punching. This had been an ongoing conversation for several weeks. Jane had told me that the coming Wednesday there would be a graduation, and she would be sitting next to a boy in her grade who deserved to be punched. I walked her through what would happen if she did go through with this and punched this boy on their last day of school; reactions, consequences, etc. I challenged her to NOT punch this boy. If she felt angry, to have the courage to just walk away.
Last night I was able to speak with Jane about that day, and she told me that she did not punch him! As she recounted the day, she looked at me with such pride. For all the times that I wanted to bang my head on a wall after talking with her, this made it worth it. She is not beyond her desire to keep punching people who make her mad, so we will continue talking about her emotions and how to have healthy reactions. But that moment will replay in my mind, and encourage me as I repeat these same conversations.
If you are currently mentoring a younger person, be encouraged. It may take months of the same conversations, maybe even years, but it WILL sink in. Your investment in their life is worth it!