Wait for it, Wait for it*
Patience is a virtue, it truly is. Sometimes, when I’m being wise, I know this. I guess I had a wise moment over the holidays or perhaps I just so busy with work projects and the hustle and bustle of family, travel, cooking that I ran out of time to nag, nudge and cajole the young woman I’d been mentoring. I’d emailed her a part-time job opportunity and hadn’t gotten a response.
Instead of calling her on/about this, I decided not to contact her. I decided to leave her be, to just give her a little time.
Lo’ and behold, just when I’d nearly given up and was about to call her, the phone rang. It was her, checking in. She told me that she’d finished the volunteer project I’d found for her and that she was looking for opportunities to volunteer with a day care. She asked if I could help her find some places.
She asked for help! Out-loud!
I said yes. (Of course.)
As we continued to talk, I asked her if she’d written a thank you letter to the folks who’d given her the volunteer opportunity. She hadn’t. We then discussed what the contents of the thank you might say. I told her to also ask if she could use them as a reference as she looks for work while she completes her GED.
I asked her if she’d seen my email about the job. She said she hadn’t checked her email in a while. I reminded her that we’d talked about email being my preferred communication method and that, since her email was on her resume and on various job applications, she needed to check it on a regular basis. (She doesn’t have a computer at home but has access at the education center she attends and at the public library.
Turns out, after further conversation that she had checked the email but didn’t know what an “usher” was. (Sigh.) I explained the job of usher to her (as opposed to the singer, Usher, lol) Suggested that next time she didn’t know what a word meant – she look it up online, in a dictionary, do a search, or ask somebody. I reminded her that I would only send her jobs that I knew she could do and that wouldn’t interfere with her primary goal right now – the completion of her GED.
Despite promising to check email and to send me a draft of her thank you, I didn’t hear from her for a few days. So, in addition to emailing the volunteer opportunities I uncovered, I also printed them out and mailed them and a blank thank you card via postal mail. And waited, once more.
Postal mail nets email (go figure!)
This afternoon, I got an email from her thanking me for the info, promising that she would begin to call places tomorrow, and informing me that she had sent her thank you letter to the organization with which she volunteered.
I got her attention and she got mine. (I would bet that she doesn’t get much postal mail.)
She followed-through! (Shouting for joy right now.)
There was something in her face that made me connect to her from her visit to me in my recent stint as a job counselor. I do believe she’s going to continue to grow and develop and that the chilly urban chick demeanor that she sometimes cloaks herself in will melt and her unnecessary walls will come down. (Some walls are necessary for self-protection!)
She is reminding me:
- to be patient, to wait for it, wait for it,
- to allow her to walk toward me,
- to share information and then let it go,
- to ask her if she’d like my feedback or a suggestion.
It’s a lesson I should have remembered from my days rearing my two teens and the many teens I’ve worked with over the years.
I’m still learning and I’m still mentoring.
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(*Comic Katt Williams uses this phrase to great effect in his routines, as in waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s one of the few phrases he uses that doesn’t have a bunch of curse words in it.)
Waiting is tricky and sublime! The payoff is in knowing that the result is more genuinely obtained. Waiting applies to everything we do: art, craft, business, love, exercise, you name it, there’s a place for some serious committed waiting. There’s a trick to knowing how long to wait and when not to wait at all. Congratulations on the breakthrough!
For a person like me who tends to be very responsive and quickly follow-through, it is difficult. I’m even learning to do it with my husband. As you say, sage man, when things are done in someone’s own time, they tend to be more genuine.
Thanks for commenting.
I enjoyed your article, mentoring is a tremendous gift and your bulleted points which I’ve learned myself in just these past 3 years are so true.