As many of you know who have followed my writings or blogs over the years, I have been very emphatic about building a strong foundation under the Family Care Network in order to effectively fulfill our mission “to enhance the wellbeing of children and families in partnership with our community.” This has included establishing seven Foundation-Principles from our beginning, that have guided our organization these past 32+ years, as well as embedding 10 Guiding Practice Principles.
As National Mentor Appreciation Month comes to a close, I feel compelled to shine a spotlight on those individuals who have served as my Mentors during my life’s journey. I truly feel indebted to the amazing individuals who imparted great wisdom and inspiration when our paths crossed. I share this is an encouragement to anybody considering becoming a mentor – you’ll never know how powerful and influential you can be until you do it!
Being a mentor to anyone is not easy but being a mentor to a child or youth who’ve experienced trauma and/or instability, can be especially difficult. Fulfilling this important role for a child or youth who is healing from various hurts such as neglect, abuse or unmet mental health needs takes a lot of patience, commitment, empathy, good humor, compassion, creativity and, last but not least, time. Is it any wonder that we as a nation dedicate an entire month to celebrate the role of mentoring and those who choose to mentor?
As many of you know, I am passionate about gardening; probably a little OCD in that regard. I love gardening because it is cyclic, dynamic and ever-changing. Each season brings something new and delightful. I just spent several days pruning our 12 fruit trees. Each tree is like a sculpture to me, needing to be shaped and formed in order to create a new crop of delicious fruit. And, each one will be different from what it was the year prior. Each tree will have a “New Year” unique to itself. All of nature is this way–our lives are this way!
Do you ever get weary of our arrogant, bombastic culture; talking heads who “know it all” but just spew meaningless hot air? How did we get to the place where rude is cool, where one’s personal opinion is better than anyone else's, where “my way or no way” rules the day?! Our current president is a prime example of arrogance and haughtiness at its pinnacle – but he is only a symptom of much deeper corruption in our cultural values and social mores. As a society, we have created an environment which encourages and nourishers people like this to thrive.