Dance of the Deliberate

(Editor’s note: I have been a fan of Don Miller’s Mentoring Project from back in the day when it was the Belmont Foundation. Tyler Braun asked me if I’d contribute to a blogging campaign on mentoring. What about you? Do you have a mentor? Have you been a mentor?)



My daughter called me for advice recently. She was going school clothes shopping and wanted some help with the logistics.First there was the budget issue. What’s the better investment – jeans, pants or dresses?
“How much do you intend to spend?” I asked.
“Not sure,” she said. “It depends on what I end up buying.”

I knew with her husband still in graduate school, whatever it was, the budget would be tight.

“Daddy and I would like to help out, okay?” I said.

“That’d be great,” she said. “Then maybe I could get both pants and dresses.”

My 28-year-old daughter wasn’t school-clothes shopping for herself. My daughter is a mentor. The child she was taking shopping is not her own.

Once a week, for the past year now, my daughter has met with another woman’s daughter. That very first day, the little girl announced, “I hate my mother.”

I imagine it’s hard at age 7 not to feel abandoned when your mama is in prison. It’s probably hard at any age. An estimated 1.7 million children have at least one parent in state or federal prison. Seventy-five percent of all women incarcerated are mothers.

When Daddy heads to prison, only two percent of the children end up in foster care. When Mama heads to prison, a whopping 11 percent of children end up in foster care. The other children left behind most often end up being cared for by a mish-mash of relatives. They sleep on couches, on floors, or if they are lucky, in somebody else’s bed. Rarely, if ever, does someone have the time to read them a bedtime story.

Head on over to Tyler’s site to read the rest.

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