Is there one specific positive moment from your youth that you will never forget? A special moment? A life-changing moment, perhaps?
I have been caught up in writing this year. It is strange, as I have never regarded myself as being much of a writer, though clearly God has other ideas. All three books which will be published by the end of the year carry a theme of the ‘spirit of mentoring’ and they also aim to encourage people.
So, I have thought deeply about all the people who have encouraged me over the years. And, in my youth, the moment that stands out for me was my last day at school.
School finished each year with an Annual Prize giving celebratory event. I had the honor and privilege of being school captain during my final year at school and had enjoyed a memorable year.
The previous year I had discovered that as a young boy I had had cancer and was not guaranteed to live. I knew I had been seriously ill, but I never knew I had had ‘cancer’. Fortunately, thanks to the amazing skills of a wonderful team of doctors and nurses, as well as incredible support from my family, teachers and friends, I became a ‘survivor’. When I was appointed school captain, I determined that this would be the year I gave back to all those who had supported me on this journey.
I set many goals and achieved them all and this included stepping out of my comfort zone and trying different activities, exploring things I might not normally have explored, and learning the meaning of serving others. While I am sure I made many mistakes, I know that I learnt plenty about myself, my gifts and talents and what my purpose was in life.
When I walked up onto the stage to receive an award for my services to the school that year, I remember all the applause (I am told that my father was tearful but I could not see that). No-one probably noticed that my shoes had broken just before the event, so I had to put a spring in my step to cover up the damage – still brings a smile to my face as I remember the occasion. Many of the people I had wanted to express my thanks to for supporting me over an eleven years season of my life were there that afternoon.
Two of my teachers passed away this past week, both in their 80’s. I have been travelling down memory lane, as there are only a couple of my teachers still alive. So many of my teachers influenced my life in a variety of ways and have left me with a treasure trove of positive memories as they molded, shaped, refined and guided me to reach my potential.
It’ll be perfect
While I have been reminiscing, I was reminded of this powerful story of creating wonderful memories and which also carries a strong message linked to the spirit of mentoring. I do not know who the author is. The story is entitled, It’ll be perfect.
Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her.
Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked “NO ADMITTANCE.”
When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part.
Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a potentially frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was absolutely mesmerized.
Whatever our situation in life and histories, however outrageous, however desperate, whatever dry spell of the spirit, whatever dark night of the soul, God is whispering deep within our beings, “Don’t quit. Keep playing. You’re not alone; together we will transform the broken patterns into a masterwork of our creative art. Together, we will mesmerize the world with our song of peace.”
How many positive memories will you create in a young person’s life today?
About the author: Robin Cox has been a School Principal, sports coach to National Under 19 Level, Youth Symposium Organizer, developer of Youth Mentoring Programs in New Zealand and Australia, Churchill Fellow and author of books linked to youth mentoring, Peer Mentoring and the development of adolescents to become the best they can be using their God-given talents. He has trained over 1,000 volunteer adult mentors, run workshops for teachers promoting the Spirit of Mentoring and personally mentored over 1,000 adolescents. Still an idealist, a cancer survivor of 50+ years, married with two adult children, Robin lives in New Zealand and shares a passion with anyone wanting to make a positive difference in the global community. You can see his short daily mentoring tips on Facebook or contact him through his Mentoring Matters website Robin’s free Mentoring Minutes daily podcasts (each podcast between 2 and 4 minutes), containing hundreds of tips for anyone working with young people, are available here. Over 50 blogs have been converted to short video clips, all of which are linked to encouraging youth to reach their potential. These are available on YouTube https://www.youtube.