Like Frankl, many of the children that our class had the opportunity to mentor have lived through many difficult and undue circumstances in their lives. With each passing day, these students allowed our class into their world, offering us a worthwhile glimpse of the lives they lead, sharing things that were often very different from our own childhoods and upbringings. In Frankl’s book, he wrote, “The kind of prisoner one becomes depends on some inner decision, not environment conditions alone”. Most of these children are faced with poverty, bad home lives, bad parenting skills, and many of them feel like it is them against the world. I felt that with each visit we earned the trust of our mentees more and more. I whole-heartedly believe that our visits helped these children see this quote come true in some way, we strived to show them they were more than what block they grew up on, but they were their own person, with integrity and the means to make good decisions.
Even though many of these children have witnessed or first handily been involved in situations that people of their age cannot properly comprehend, we as mentors strived to change their thoughts on their future by giving them a distraction in the form of a positive role model. Many of the class’s mentees came from homes where good role models were not on display, so this program gave them a mentor with high goals and expectations for their futur...
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...to day basis. I often found myself questioning my own ideas, opinions, and even emotions based solely on what my mentee shared with me. Situations that did not affect my childhood have now affected me in a different way, thus opening my mind up to a new way to address and relate to people different from myself.
Although these children were at times rowdy and talkative, it is not because they grew up in rough homes or bad neighborhoods. It is most likely because they are children, and finally had people that were close to their age to relate to that had a serious future ahead of them. In closing, “Human kindness can be found in all groups, even those which as a whole would be easy to condemn.” These children showed all the mentors nothing but kindness from the time we arrived until we left, something I am sure we can all agree will stay with us for years to come.
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