I’ve heard the word “mentor” a lot recently, in conversations, presentations, and e-mails. A new year of small groups began in my student ministry last night—a new year of mentors matching up with mentees. In some cases, it’s the 7th year a mentor (a.k.a. small group leader) and a student have done life together. That excites me! That makes me feel like what I do matters.
Today I had the pleasure of having lunch with Mrs. Kay Meredith, my 11th and 12th grade English teacher. Mrs. Meredith was the kind of teacher who set the bar high, challenged you to be better than you thought you were, and listened when life was difficult. We had writing Fridays that included breakfast and a coffee house atmosphere in which we could write. She made me kiss my boyfriend in class as thanks for a gift. She danced with my boyfriend at our prom. She came to our wedding, and I think she danced with him there, too.
I entered my senior year of high school planning to be a math teacher. I eventually ended up an English teacher. The difference was the teachers. I had a math teacher who set the bar high, but who didn’t personally care for his students. I had an English teacher who set the bar high, who believed in me, and who held me when I cried in the girls’ bathroom.
I am thankful for an English teacher who encouraged me to take an AP class I didn’t think I was smart enough to handle; the course literally changed the direction of my life. I am thankful for an English teacher who modeled setting boundaries and expectations, encouraging and empowering students to succeed, and authentically caring for teenagers. Like a good mentee, I’m trying to implement what I’ve learned from my mentor. I now have the immense pleasure of mentoring, and I hope to have the kind of impact Mrs. Meredith has had on me. Love you, Mrs. M.