I was in a brief discussion about mentoring with a friend today. I mentioned the idea that everyone should have a mentor as well as be a mentor. I described this as having one arm extended forward being pulled along by a mentor, and one extended back pulling someone else forward. Imagine a chain of mentors, all pulling and being pulled as together we pursue that which is greater than ourselves, that to which we are intrinsically called.
In the past I think I labored under a subconscious definition of what it meant to be mentored that was both false and harmful . I think I perceived it as something for the weak, the needy, the “defective.” While those who have it together, or who are experienced in life are the ones that are doing the mentoring. I think I first became aware of this incorrect perception of mine when I heard Andy Stanley state that “we are all naive, and that’s ok” (not necessarily a direct quote). It’s true. We are all naive about something. There are always things or scenarios that we have not yet experienced – things that others have already experienced where we can draw on their wisdom, strength, knowledge, compassion and guidance as we journey through similar circumstances. Until the lid closes on the casket, we are never to old to benefit from having a mentor because there is always something we have not yet experienced in life — right up to that point that we walk through death’s door.
Does this mentoring relationship necessarily need to be formalized and ratified with selected individuals? Perhaps, but I also think we should continually be offering guidance (when appropriate) to others around us and we should always be seeking guidance as well. For there is great wisdom to be found in good counsel. I suspect the answer should be that we should strive for both formal and informal mentor/mentored relationships. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please consider dialoguing either here in the comments section or over on the official Dangerous Journey Facebook page. I would really appreciate your insight and ideas.
When I began creating this post I thought I would find a clever graphic that illustrated the concept of a human chain of mentoring. I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but I did come across this commercial that I thought fit in well with this discussion. I think it played back in 2010, but I don’t remember ever seeing it.
The lyrics of the background music are:
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finishAnd it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re atEverybody gets knocked down, everybody gets knocked downHow quick are you gonna get up, how quick are you gonna get upEverybody gets knocked down, everybody gets knocked downHow quick are you gonna get up, just how are you gonna get up
Perhaps part of getting up after you get knocked down, part of where you finish, the place where you are at, is all influenced by whether you have a mentor in your life. Think about it.