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When it comes to making a connection with a young person, it’s often simpler to prepare for what you’re about to give than to contemplate what you might receive in return. Fostering and mentorship are known to have a high emotional price tag for the foster parent and the mentor.

With a simple perspective shift, however, the “giver” can find many points of thankfulness in the process of making a real connection. 

Connections impact both the sender and the receiver. 

Bearing the burdens of a young person who has moved through, or is moving through, the foster care system can certainly take its toll. When we bear a burden, though, we are moved to a place of gratitude by the load that we realize someone else is carrying. The old adage “don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes” becomes real and alive as you mentor and assist a young person through difficult times. All the while, the burden you help them carry has strengthened you, fortified your resolve, and given you compassion for those who have circumstances beyond their control. That’s something to be thankful for. 

Connections keep unwanted thoughts and feelings from breaking through. 

As you move through the fostering or mentorship process, you become a gatekeeper for emotions, feelings, and actions that are potentially detrimental to both parties. A solid gate keeps intruders out. You are the last line of defense for damaging and invasive attitudes that may penetrate young minds and you begin to fulfill the role of protector for your home and sphere of influence. A protector is a hero – and you ARE one in your situation as a foster parent or mentor. Whether it’s known, received, or applauded. Having the capabilities of a real life superhero – now THAT is something to be thankful for. 

Connections have long-lasting impacts. 

The things you do, the actions you take, and the sacrifices you make in mentorship and fostering are, without doubt, some of the longest lasting impacts you will ever make. The society that you teach a young person to assimilate and incorporate into is the society in which you will dwell and live and work – and your future generations might as well. Knowing that the leaders of  the future world were equipped with compassion, zeal, and fortitude (by you!) is peace of mind. You did what you could to prepare for what was to come and to encourage someone else to do the same. You are a world-changer as much as they are! That is something for you, and others, to be very thankful for!

Thankfulness is a state of mind achieved by the bravest, boldest, and most committed to the long-term outcome of a situation. You are making a difference with your investments, you are rewriting history one REAL connection at a time. Stay thankful. Someone is thankful for you!