Mentors and mentees alike are feeling reflective and emotional about closing their mentoring relationship for the summer.
The Seedling Foundation sincerely hopes that every one of them will be continued into the next school year, as research tells us match longevity is key to the lasting benefit of the experience. However, the fact is, we cannot know what events could take place in the life of the mentor or the mentee that might make it impossible to see one another again.
This is why conversations we refer to as “closure activities” are critical to include in your May mentoring visits. Mentors can model care and thoughtfulness by initiating dialog about your relationship, letting your mentee know how special the relationship has been, remembering favorite times, sharing qualities which you admire in your mentee, describing the growth you have seen in him/her, and, in essence, saying “good-bye” for the summer.
Include in your closure conversations all those messages of encouragement and positive regard that you would want your mentee to carry forward, even if your relationship did not continue. Consider asking your mentee if there is a topic she/he may have wanted to discuss all year that should be covered before summer break. If you plan to return in the fall, let your mentee know your intent, but avoid a promise that might not be kept. Give your mentee a memento with a written message that she/he may keep as a reminder of your special times together.
In the November, 2014 Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring, Dr. Jean Rhodes shares the effects of a healthy closure that is planned with consideration and care. “All terminations, even planned ones that follow successful relationships, can evoke conflicting emotions and defensive reactions. How relationships end, however, can color the ways that mentees think about their entire experience. In addition to preventing feelings of abandonment and loss, a well-handled termination can provide a healthy model for sharing feelings around other losses in adolescents’ (and children’s) lives. To read the full article, click the link.
~Seedling’s Mentor Program Staff