Our friends at WordPress ask us this today:
Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?
I had a long period of time in life when I despised this question. The strong feelings came from the first time I heard a primarily academic use of the term; the people responding to a similar question were talking about powerful, insightful, and influential folks from their workplaces, churches, or local government who came alongside them to provide advice and direction, to which they spent time discussing, collaborating, confabbing, etc. I had none of those folks in my educational or work history.
I went to a workshop a couple of years ago and had the opportunity to revisit the topic of mentors. I came to realize that a mentor is someone who speaks into our life, who gives a sound word that reaches to the core of our issue. A mentor may in fact not say anything, but may influence us by who they are.
To that end, I came to realize I have had some wonderful mentors–my nana (my dad’s adoptive mom) and my first school superintendent (Dr. Johnson, who has had an influence on various members of my family and to whom I dedicated my dissertation), to name two. I could go on and on about what each of them has given my life, but that would be a book, not a blog post… ‘Nuff said.