My Philosophy on Mentoring

Mentoring is the proactive investment in another person that unlocks their potential.  It is inherent in all healthy relationships as individuals seek to help each other learn, grow and navigate transition.   From our first breath to our last, a person will likely encounter mentors from all walks of life; some they will even call mom, dad, aunt, uncle and friend.  

A mentor recognizes the mentee’s strengths; where once a mentee may have only seen limitations and weaknesses, by using their words a mentor breathes life into, and builds the mentee’s confidence in their own potentialities.

On the journey of becoming, mentors help highlight the essence of who we are and who we might become. They help us grasp a vision of our future and then walk alongside us toward that vision.   

A mentor seeks to empower their mentee to free themselves from the games others may try to impose on them and instead learn to play their own game (Torrance, Henderson & Presbury, 1983).  A mentor does not seek to mold the mentee in their own image, nor a cookie cutter image of success, but instead recognizes that a person’s greatest achievement is becoming comfortable in their own skin, fully themselves.  In this way, a mentor is a little like Michelangelo when he described his famous sculpture, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

It’s unlikely you will find the word love in descriptions of mentoring.  However, if you were to look at the internal motivation of mentors, who are not being compelled by external rewards, you would likely find it goes straight to the heart.  Love is a word that most of us think we understand and yet in one day we could express how much we love our spouse or child and also say “I love tacos!”  For my purposes, I am using the definition of love developed by my pastors, Jeff & Carol Sharp.  The theme this year at our church is Live Jesus Love.  In order to remove ambiguity about what they meant when using the word “love” they developed this definition: “Love is a force that compels and constrains us to do good, be kind and show mercy.”   The key portion of this definition that I am focused on is “love is a force that compels and constrains us.”  We are good at being compelled to do things, but seem less effective at being constrained from doing things.  I believe that mentoring is rooted and grounded in love and that a mentor is compelled by love to offer their guidance but is also constrained in allowing the mentee to make and learn from their own mistakes.  

My Definition of Mentoring

Mentoring is rooted and grounded in love.  It is the proactive investment in another person that unlocks their potential.  As an individual seeks to do the creative best with their own life, a mentor helps them carve away that which doesn’t belong and supports them as they discover, try on, and learn to live their unique creative life.

More to Come

I am still working on this.  I have created a YouTube playlist with some videos that will become blog posts or songs that resonate with me for mentoring.

Links to my mentoring blog posts.

Memes with along the bottom and a quote that represents the mentoring concept.

Torrance, E.P., Henderson, M., & Presbury, J. (1983). The manifesto for children. (Poster).  Athens, GA: The University of Georgia, Torrance Center for Creative Studies.