Keep Talking to the Brick Wall

Last night I received an unexpected phone call from one of the young women I mentor. It was my mini me. I had placed my phone on the charger in the back room so that I could focus on finishing my paper in another room. I needed to ask a classmate a question on the assignment so I went to get my phone. As I picked it up, I noticed a missed call from her. At the end of the school year, she refused to speak to me looking right through me as I walked through the hallway and greeted her one afternoon. She was upset, she felt betrayed by me. I reached out to her mother a few days before to let her know that her child was cutting school again. We had so many conversations and I felt as though I wasn’t getting through to her, so we worked together to devise a plan. Regents exams were right around the corner and we needed her to stay focus for just a few more days. With her personality, I wasn’t sure if I would ever hear from her again. When I saw her missed call, I smiled. I called her back immediately because I didn’t want it to get too late. The phone rang and on the other end, the voice asked, “why you ain’t pick up the phone when I called you the first time” I laughed because my girls are always TRYING to act like my mother. We caught up with how our summer was going and in our conversation, I was surprised to hear about some of the decisions she made. Something about the conversation was different. Her responses led me to believe that this year would be a great one for her and that she wanted to do better academically. She mentioned that our group fell apart over the summer which had happened once before during the school year. When it happened, this young lady didn’t care and she wasn’t interested in any form of mediation. Yet, during this conversation as I expressed my concerns about getting the group back to a good place, she agreed and was willing to help. We decided that we would go out to eat this upcoming week. I must say that I am super proud of the woman she is becoming. I am also glad that she understands that we all want the best for her and that I am someone who she still trusts.

As mentors and parents, we’re always talking to our kids! Teaching them right from wrong, providing them with resources for them to succeed sometimes parents make sacrifices to give their child their best and a child may choose not to take that advice. So many times parents have come to me and expressed that they don’t know what to do about their child’s defiance and that they are ready to give up because their child is in high school and should have the common sense to do better. I always tell them not to give up on their kid. It may seem like they aren’t listening! But kids tend to pay attention to what we do and not what we say. From my experience kids may not listen to the message we try to send at the time that we want them to, but they most certainly won’t forget what we say and will apply what they learn in their own time when it makes sense to them. So when you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall (as my mother would say) Keep talking. My brother and I weren’t on the straight and narrow our whole life, but in our own time, we became focused. Long after she’s gone I continue to use her advice. I so much like my mother and proud of it!

Thanks, mommy for never giving up on us.

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