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The Mentor’s Field Guild: Question 27

Most important, try not to get discouraged, much less angry.

You came into this relationship knowing it requires commitment, patience and perseverance, all of which are now being tested. Some simple strategies can help: have your mentee write down when your next meeting is, be sure he has your phone number if he needs to cancel, and make a reminder call the night before. If your mentee is younger, ask if he is comfortable using the phone to call you.
It also can be helpful to talk to your program coordinator, or if mentoring informally, to your mentee’s family about missed appointments. Many times, your mentee has little to no control over the situation because of other family commitments such as needing to babysit a younger sibling.

It is also possible that your mentee wants to back off a little in the relationship and may be too embarrassed to tell you. When you see your mentee the next time, mention that you were disappointed about the canceled meeting and reiterate how much you care about him. Explain that you understand that he may need to cancel a meeting with you and let him know that it would be better for you if he did so in advance rather than just being a “no show”. Tell him you’d like to solve the problem, and brainstorm possible solutions together.

Be open to the possibility that your mentee may want to see you less often. See if you can agree on a solution that works for both of you, and then make a plan for how you are going to follow through on the solution.

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Reprinted with permission from The Mentor’s Field guide: Answers You Need to Help Kids Succeed by Gail Manza and Susan K. Patrick; Questions about the Mentoring Relationship, Question 27. Reprinted with permission from Search Institute®, Copyright © 2012 Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN ; 877-240-7251, ext. 1; All rights reserved.