Linda is a mentor. Every week she plans and then goes to pick up her young match, Jaclyn. However, Jaclyn is an orphan who lives in a group home. This group home, like most, uses a behavioral modification system that encourages the young people to earn their way into special privileges. Therefore, Jaclyn needs to be at a certain level in order to go out with her mentor. Linda never knows if they will be permitted to leave the grounds, or if they will be shown the day room where they will endure yet another hour of supervised Yahtzee.
On one recent, especially beautiful day, Linda was hoping to hike with Jaclyn. But to be totally truthful, she did not expect to be able to leave the building. Linda was having a bad day already and dreaded the idea of being holed up in that dark room, again, playing yet another game of Yahtzee where the sound of dice echoes endlessly around the cinderblock walls. She wondered why she had even planned anything as she waited for Jaclyn to appear down that long, cold hallway.
Just before Jaclyn arrived, Miss Jane, the activities coordinator, noticed Linda and informed her that Jaclyn had “made level” and was eligible to go to “Level Dinner”. This is a high honor where all who achieve it each week are rewarded by going out to a restaurant. Linda knows this all too well as Jaclyn frequently bemoaned the fact that she misses most of them because of “others” poor behavior. Helping Jaclyn to see that her behavior leads to such consequences has been a major challenge.
Linda suggested to Miss Jane that she would reschedule her time with Jaclyn since the girls were loading the van to go out to eat. Miss Jane emphatically replied, “On no! Jaclyn always picks you! ‘What do you mean she picks me?’ No matter what we are doing, bowling, fishing, games, even eating, she ALWAYS picks YOU!” As that thought resonated in her mind, Linda smiled and silently repented for her own bad attitude as she tried to reconcile her perception with this new information. I have been chosen over ‘level dinner’ she thought. Jaclyn always seems so disinterested, but she chose me! She always looks forward to going out to eat. But she chose me!
In the scant time remaining before Jaclyn happily bounded up the hallway with a good report for her, Linda recounted the Scripture her Long Island Youth Mentoring Area Director had often reminded her of, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” 1 Corinthians 3:6. They greeted one another with a smile and a hug, and had a wonderful hike!