We have been talking to our Mentors about their experience of interacting with young adults. They seem to learn a lot about themselves during this journey. Anusha has shared her feelings and thoughts about the mentoring program and her relationship with her mentee- Ismail.
My relationship as a mentor has evolved over time. I feel we have become friends. Or at least reached a space where I know he can share his feelings and thoughts with me without hesitation.
I became a part of this program hoping to forge a connection with a person who might be going through a complex and confusing time – because I know how those teenage years were for most of us. I also knew that there were certain concrete areas where Ismail needed help such as conversational English. He was also looking for someone who could coach him on playwrighting. I knew that I could help him there. My perspective about this programme changed over time. I realise now is that it isn’t a platform where one gives and the other receives. It is a genuine learning curve for both people involved while also making room for a friendship to emerge.
I think the one- on-one attention is essential for sharing because it helps create a safe space. Also, there is more scope for investing both time and attention to the smaller often neglected aspects of a person.
This journey with Ismail has taught me to examine my prescriptive attitude that can potentially emerge towards a young adult. I don’t think it works as an approach even if you have the best intentions. I think the listening and asking questions is the ideal approach, since nobody wants to be told what to do.
My only concern is that I will be leaving Delhi soon and want to figure out a way to be in touch with him. Skype calls are a possibility and I will visit often enough, so I think we can manage.