Mentoring has many advantages, but there are many misconceptions that go along with it. Here are some myths versus realities surrounding mentoring relationships:
Myth: Because my Little is quiet, it means they do not like me and want to hang out with me.
Reality: Sometimes it can take a few outings for your little to open up and learn to trust you. Trust takes time! Being consistent is the key to having your little trust.
Myth: I am not sure if I have time in my life to be able to devote time to a Little.
Reality: In order for mentors to prioritize their Little, we expect our mentors to be available one to three hours a week for their Little.
Myth: I have not had a lot of experience working with kids.
Reality: You were a kid once as well. You will also have ongoing professional support/training to be able to handle any situation thrown your way.
Myth: When I am matched with my Little, I will not be able to talk about my experience with the agency or get help.
Reality: You will be assigned a Match Support Specialist (MSS) who will follow up very regularly once a month in the first year of your match, and quarterly after a year with you. They are professionally trained to coach and support each party in the match.
Myth: I will have to figure out all the outings on my own.
Reality: Allowing your Little to express what they are to do is a really strong skill to teach. Let this be an opportunity for you and your Little to work together. Coming up with outings is more simple than you think! Sometimes it’s not what you do, but the time you spend together. Outings do not have to be expensive, a big grand gesture, or outside of the home. There are several learning opportunities to be done through baking, documentaries, and playing games together.
Myth: I will not be able to connect with the parent because I will not be spending my time with them.
Reality: Trust does take time, consistency, and communication. We are here to help bridge that gap. Showing interest in the child’s/family’s life will let the parent know that you are committing to mentoring their child. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with the parent and work to get to know them and for them to get to know you.
Myth: I am my Little’s first and only mentor.
Reality: You could be their first mentor or you could be their third mentor. In the end, the most important thing is to focus on the impact you can have on your Little’s life. It is so easy to compare relationships, but it’s more important to focus on working through getting to know your Little and letting your Little get to know you.
Myth: Something happened in my personal life during the Match and I feel like I do not have enough time or energy to be the child’s mentor.
Reality: Your Match Support Specialist will work with you! You will never be alone in making decisions that might be hard to discuss. Being as transparent as possible is key with your MSS, your Little, and their family. Families are very understanding and it is okay to be open with them about needing a week off or two to focus on yourself. Not only this but it is also a really awesome opportunity to help mentor your Little in the importance of taking care of yourself.