What is mentoring? Why is mentoring important? Does it work?
As Lyndon B. Johnson aptly said, “We must open the doors of opportunity. But we must also equip our people to walk through those doors.”
That was all about mentoring, helping people walk through those doors of opportunity. To me mentoring is, indeed, important. How many times haven’t we all heard people revisiting past incidents and lamenting, “I wish there was somebody who could have told me that what I’m doing was wrong and I wouldn’t be here toiling to get over the mistakes I made and suffering forever.”
Similarly, I heard many successful people say with thanks, “I had a wonderful mentor who was always there for me to guide me in the right direction and because of that support I am what I’m today. But for he/him I would have been lost in the dust of confusion.”
I myself have some wonderful mentors who help me make better choices in my life, career, and in raising my child properly. When confusion capsizes the thinking power, we need help from a person who could step into our shoes and think on behalf of us and give us positive alternative solutions.
Mentoring is empowering the mentee with strength, thinking tools, power of positivity and everything that it takes to opt for better choices. Mentoring is creating trust in oneself and helping others to protect their self-esteem from corroding. Most of the time when a person whom you trust has the ability and prudence, lays out the pros and cons and lets you think vertically, it will start making a lot of sense. But the key to success is finding such a person who is truly your friend and a well-wisher. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa mentored several people to speak up against apartheid, practice of non-violent agitation, and embrace others with love, respectively. Because of their mentoring, people have had courage to reinvent themselves and forge ahead for a good cause.
Does mentoring work? I surely think so.
“Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado – Would eleven Kids be dead if two young classmates had had a mentor to help them understand some positive alternatives to their horrific action?”
I read this question on a mentoring website which, I felt, is so true.
A slap on the hand and a word of positive advice will always work to promote better results of an action. Mentoring initiative combined with proper conflict resolution steps have resolved and will prevent many internal and external wars. There is an urgent need to strengthen the society to work toward that goal.
California Mentor Foundation surveyed 124 mentor programs with 36,251 mentors and 57,659 mentees. The survey showed that:
98% stayed in school
85% did not use drugs
98% Deterred from teen pregnancy
98% Did not join a gang
Doesn’t mentoring works? It sure does. Aren’t these young students our future leaders and protagonists for a building a better society? I bet they are.
What an amazing impact could mentors make on young persons! What happens even if 75% of the mentees in the world have mentors and they work together to build a better society? Then there won’t be much to relay about wars, economic turmoil, ponzi schemes, mall shootings, endangered animal species, juvenile crimes, and drug cartels. The media will go out of business.
“Mentoring comes first, because we know that if society doesn’t provide constructive mentors and role models for kids they are going to find their own on street corners, in gangs or in drug dens,” said General Colin Powell at the 1998 California Mentor Summit hosted by CMF and Disneyland.
Currently, 18 million children in the United States want and need a mentor, and only three million have one. And we have 196 independent countries in the world with a total population of approximately 7 billion in 2011. You can estimate the mentor requirement figure for the rest of the whole world.
Mentoring doesn’t need any special qualifications but in essence needs special qualities. A mentor must have a big heart and open mind which will foster compassion, patience, empathy, and a nature to help others. A mind-set to reach out for the needy, walking the walk, and talking the talk with the mentee is all that it takes to be a good mentor. There are a myriad of ways to become a mentor. As charity starts at home, mentoring starts within the family and circle of friends.
Many NGO/NPOs and social organizations need and welcome mentors. Take a dip and see. You may really find something worthy to put your experience, education, and abilities to best use. Maybe there is someone awaiting your arrival and help.
How do you feel when a child graduates with flying colors because of your encouraging words; a family together celebrates a festival because of your counseling not to go for a divorce; a distraught parent gives up drugs with your help in therapy sessions; an old couple save themselves from getting into a scam scheme upon your education to them; an immigrant family learning to read with your coaching; a young lady escaping from the clutches of a bad marriage because of your timely help; a harassed employee stood up in self-defense because you talked to him about employee rights.
I always have an exhilarating feeling when I get a warm hug from my mentee. The bright smile on that face gives me a good night sleep. I have a lot of those smiles, hugs, and thank you notes in my stash which I have to pass on to my mentors for consistently making changes in my life to think better, behave well, talk sweet, share happiness, and for empowering me to mentor others to make changes in their lives.
The California Mentor Foundation.