I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be,
but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.
— Douglas Pagels

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mentoring Project

Who knew I would be in college at my age?

Who knew that I would ever join a fraternity?

Not me, that's for sure.

I stick out like a sore thumb in Phi Theta Kappa. I remember meeting the PTK-lady-in-charge for the first time. She immediately encouraged me to transfer to a Mississippi university, and informed me that PTK could benefit me through scholarships and other perks if I participated enough. I let her know that I'm in my 30's and that I won't be moving to a big university in Mississippi, but I am joining because my friend Andrea was involved and doing a lot of volunteer work, and that was something that I'd like to be a part of. I sat in her office and filled out the application for membership.

As she took my money, she asked "What are you majoring in?"

"I'm an art major", I replied.

I will never forget her expression as she looked down at me through her reading glasses. She appeared utterly disgusted by my choice. As if an "art major" was not worthy of being in her presence, much less joining her honor society. Her tone of voice even changed. It was almost funny.

I could have taken my sixty bucks elsewhere, but I didn't. I told myself that if she doesn't have an open mind or an appreciation for all majors, including the fine arts, it is her loss. I didn't join for her and I didn't join for the title of PTK member. Heck, I haven't been to one meeting, haven't applied for one scholarship, and don't have a clue where that little pin is that they gave to me when I was inducted. I imagine it's in one of my dresser drawers, collecting dust.

But almost every time I get an email from this lady concerning a charity or volunteer project, I'm on it. Usually anonymously. But this time, someone will see my face and my name, so the pressure is on. I am mentoring a young lady in a middle school on the Mississippi Delta. I just sat up all night and read this book...

...and I will crawl out of my sick bed and drop it off at school tomorrow, where it will then be sent to the young lady. She will read it, then we will meet and discuss via internet. I will encourage her to keep reading, stay in school and make good decisions. This is right up my alley. I love kids and I love mentoring. I guess it's the wannabe-mom in me, but I've always been the type. I want to help. I want people to be happy...to succeed in life. I want to make a difference. This is what gets me out of bed. THIS is where I belong.

So whether or not I'm good enough for the lady with the PhD who rules the honor society roost is meaningless.

I want to be good enough for a 12 year old named Kiarius.

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