Mentoring Hope

It was a few weeks into the first semester freshman year when George went to his advisors office very upset. George’s girlfriend from back home had broken up with him. As he told the story of a three-year relationship ending, he was in tears.

His advisor was about to give him his “there are 14,000 more possibilities here” speech when George continued, “My girlfriend on campus also dumped me when she found out about the girlfriend back home.” It was hard for his advisor to keep from laughing.

Then George admitted to being a recovering narcotics addict. The girlfriend struggles were tempting him to return to the pain killers he was previously using. George and his advisor talked about finding other ways to focus his time. He also began to attend Narcotic Anonymous sessions.

George was a frequent visitor to his advisor’s office early in the morning. They would mostly talk about the new life he was hoping to create.

When George returned home for Thanksgiving, he emailed his advisor about emergency dental surgery he needed. He was in a lot of pain, but he was proud to let his advisor know that he turned down the offer of a prescription for pain medicine to relieve the pain he was experiencing.

As George continued through his college career, he got a new advisor in his major, but he continued to meet with his freshman advisor. As George said to his freshman advisor one day: “You give me hope, and whenever I leave your office I’m confident that I’m on the right track.”

George never returned to drug use, but continued to participate in the support group. He began to support other students who his freshman advisor sent to him. In effect, he became a mentor of hope for others.

Five years after graduation, George and his freshman advisor reconnected. “George I need to tell you what you started”, began his advisor. “The student who I sent you to mentor turned his life around and became a hope of mentor as well. We now have a chain of hope mentors all leading out of your own experience. I pray that you will never stop mentoring those who need hope.”

All of us can be hope mentors, and those we mentor can become mentors of hope themselves. These are called virtuous cycles where one successful activity leads to another activity which reinforces the first activity as well as the subsequent one. This process repeats itself over and over again. The impact of hope mentoring can be profound in many facets of our society.

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            “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  – Winston Churchill

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