Reflections on mentoring by Suzy Triplett, Servant Partners staff in Bangkok, Thailand. *Names were changed for privacy.
Everyone needs a mentor. We constantly strive for mentorship here at Friends of the City. From the beginning, I’ve prayed about mentoring programs, checked out mentoring curriculums, and tried to develop the best mentoring platform for children, youth, and adults living in poverty.
As a ministry that focuses on holistic education, the cry of my heart is that education is about more than a report card; that the teacher-student relationship should go beyond the “classroom.” But I have to confess—it feels overwhelming. I haven’t quite got it figured out yet, and every answer and resource I find only leads me to more questions about how to best weave transformative mentorship into everything we do here.
Over the past several months, I’ve been observing a young girl that I’ve known now for over three years. Nok* began as an awkward student in one of the informal settlements I work at. She was physically clumsy, academically slow, and socially marginalized amongst her peers in her very own community—not to mention her treatment by middle-class students her own age.
Of all the students I had, she was the one I was most concerned about. What will Nok’s future hold if she never learns to thrive at something? Will she turn to prostitution? I gave a lot of special attention and extra prayer to Nok.
Three years later, Nok is now ten years old. She is the first to clean up the classroom when asked. She is the most compassionate when she sees another child hurt. And as the students memorize new Bible verses, Nok is the only one to intentionally slow down and help the younger students memorize the verse as well.
Nok has become a mentor! Nok still has many challenges in her life, but she’s grown into a more confident young woman, and is a very encouraging voice to others within our classroom.
This takes me back to the need for mentoring that I’ve reflected on for the past few years. I never found a mentoring curriculum. I still haven’t been able to officially launch my dream mentoring program. But something has happened as I’ve simply taken one young girl under my wing—mentorship rubbed off on her.
Apparently, mentoring is something that is more caught than taught—a good lesson for me as I still find myself pondering all those questions about programs and curriculums.
Pray with me for the children and youth in the urban poor communities of Bangkok. Pray for more Thai Christians to answer the call to walk alongside those who frequently walk alone. And pray for a mentoring movement in Thailand as those, like Nok, grow up and mentor the next generation of young ones to become compassionate, confident lovers of Jesus.
Friends of the City is a ministry of Servant Partners in Bangkok, Thailand. You can learn more about their work at www.friendsofthecity.org.