I find that word scary, actually. I mean, I understand it’s importance in life and development. But I will like to say, mentoring is not for everyone. Especially, if you are not confident enough to know your mind and do what you believe is right, when everyone — including your mentor — sees what you plan on doing as mission impossible.
I’m very touchy about someone telling me what I must do. I find the ‘must do’ vibe, a bit controlling and maybe manipulative.
Feel free to correct me, if you believe I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about.
I think a mentor should be like a psychologist. Listening, giving gentle prompts until you find the answer yourself. A guide, a friend.
Mentor sounds to me like lecturer, as opposed to compassionate teacher, who helps you understand and apply what you understand.
Interestingly, the dictionary meaning of mentor are: guide, advisor, teacher, counsellor. So why am I opposed to it?
Well, I think it’s probably because I haven’t met the right person or I’m not disciplined enough to handle the position of a mentee. I have had few admirable big-sister kind of women come into my life, but I end up pushing them away or avoiding them.
For one, they end up giving me assignments. Very good thing. But I don’t like assignments, because of the time limit attached to it. So I end up running away. I can’t help but feel bad about all the other reasons I don’t have a mentor or an active mentor. I prefer to use the word friend than mentor. The tone and vibe I get from the word mentor sounds like sitting in a stifling classroom, getting stiff instructions and ultimatums to either shape up or be punished.
What a mentor really means is part of my definition of friendship.
So I think I will settle with friendship.
With a wry smile on my face, it just occurred to me that maybe the reason, why I have had a hard time finding and keeping friends, is because I was seeking mentorship in friendship.
I’m beginning to understand why having a friend seemed like a tall order. But in my defence, I was mentoring those I thought were my friends; even if I didn’t know, that was what I was doing. I thought I was advising them. They probably ran away from me, because of my advice.
But is there something wrong with guiding, advising, counselling someone you care for and expecting the same in return?
Am I confused or expecting too much?
2 thoughts on “Mentor”
Mentoring can be a two-way road, but mostly it is someone teaching and the other learning. Yet, both should profit from the exchanges if it is only the satisfaction that comes from touching other people’s lives in a positive manner. I told my students that we touch everyone’s lives who cross our paths, either positively or negatively. Try to always be that positive touch. But, not everyone can mentor and not everyone can accept mentoring.
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