Last time I visited my friend Corky, I noticed her beautiful piano.
That is not to say it was invisible before; it takes center stage in her home. The difference was that this time I had someone with me who plays the piano and who noticed it for what is was rather than what it looks like.
Did you know that if you do not play a piano, it won’t make music, no matter how good the instrument is? Likewise, even a good instrument will sound poor if the person playing does not know how to play. So for me, the instrument is a lovely piece of furniture, yet for a piano player, it is a stunning upright grand whose sound one longs to hear.
Mentors, we work with kids who are often invisible because no one has shown them the song they were created to sing. You, with your life experiences and faithful listening have the uncanny ability to see them for who they are and help them learn how to play that song. Through the example of your own life, through stories, through just showing up and being there, you help youth find their way.
As a young girl, Corky bought her piano with war bonds. She took lessons from a teacher in her neighborhood, “who was very strict about hand position and perfection, but that was good for me.” She didn’t learn how to play over night and I would bet that there were times that the song was sour in the learning process. But she had someone to encourage her to continue and to listen to her improve.
That’s what we ask of our mentors: encourage and listen.
Thank you for hearing the children’s song…