Monday, March 24,
What is Right & Wrong for a Mentor?
When I lived in the suburbs my idea of right and wrong is different than it is now. I looked at folks in the city and wondered: "What's the matter with these people? Don't they know right from wrong? Why do they kill, steal and destroy each other?" I had a "mightier than thou" attitude. I was arrogant, judgmental, and haughty. I thought that the version of right and wrong in my brain was the only acceptable version. Then I moved into the city and experienced the "Hood version" of right and wrong.
The young girl who was about 12 years old came into the Youth Center with tears in her eyes. She was crying and afraid. She told me that a gang was after her brother and wanted to kill him. She said that a gang member told her:
"We are going to kill your brother so don't get in the way. When he gets out of jail, we will come into your house and shoot anybody who gets in the way. We will shoot you, your mom, baby brother or anybody else who gets in the way."
I knew that she was telling the truth and that this was a real possibility based on the current events including dead young people in our neighborhood. I knew her brother carried a gun when he was on the streets. I always told the young men that they should not carry guns. They said they needed them for protection. Life here in an area known as: "World War III" can quickly change a persons perspective.
I have never carried a gun in my life. Even after threats on my life and being on the scene of shootings, I never felt the need to carry a weapon. For me it's a faith issue - I believe that God put me here. If I'm doing what God has called me to do then nothing will happen to me. My haughty perspective has changed regarding right and wrong. I used to be quick to tell a young man when I thought he was doing something wrong. I try not to do that anymore. I listen and try to understand his perspective. Only after I understand his life and I have a personal relationship with him will I interject my opinion on right and wrong.
A persons view of right from wrong is based on their culture and life experience. If I grow up in a family that drinks alcoholic beverages very heavily, then I believe that it is right to be able to drink that much. If I live in a safe neighborhood where there is no danger of being assaulted with a deadly weapon, then I think that we don't need guns to protect ourselves. If I grow up in a culture where men treat women like furniture and have multiple wives, then I will have the same attitude where ever I go.
Mentoring is not an exact science but here is what I would consider an "absolute:" Form a relationship with somebody before you force feed your opinions down their throat. Understand their life as best as you can before demonstrating superiority in your character over theirs. It is not right to shoot somebody. You can take the guns out of their hands by modelling a kind way of life - forgive your enemies. Teach young men how to respect women by doing what you preach. Hypocrisy is one of the biggest wrongs in the world and prevents young minds from learning what's right. A mentors job is to form healthy relationships with healthy boundaries. A condescending "know-it-all" who judges people without attempting to understand somebody is a contributor to more wrongs than rights. Be a good listener with the ears of your heart. Be compassionate and empathetic with a backbone. Speak the truth in love.
Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody.
Founder / Mentor Force
Mentor Force is an organization of initiators.
We help young people who are at risk of leading impoverished and violent lives.
We teach teachers, mentors and youth leaders how to build healthy relationships that make young people feel valued. Our goal is to ensure that every student has the benefit of being guided by a Mentor. If we can help you reach your potential as a Mentoring organization please contact us: 716-830-8240 or firstname.lastname@example.org We do school assemblies and conferences.