When people describe what Mentoring means to them, you will hear as many definitions, as there are people. Simply mentioning the word “mentor,” can scare some people because of the experiences in their lives, or what their vision of Mentoring means to them. People forget that “Mentoring” a child does not have to be a frightening experience. Let me give you an example.
One young man, we’ll call him Matt, had difficulty doing math and thought skipping class was easier than asking for help. After graduation from high school, Matt had no idea of what he wanted to do in life. Going on to college didn’t seem what he wanted to do either, but he enrolled in a community college anyway. During this time, his sister, we’ll call Heather, had graduated from college. From time to time Matt hung out with Heather and her friends. One of Heather’s friends, Mark, was an Electrical Engineer working with a commercial electrical firm. Mark and Matt became friends, and Matt showed both an interest and a capability in helping with Mark’s electrical work.
So Mark convinced Matt to go to work for his commercial electrical firm, but the agreement to hire Matt was based on the fact that Matt had to enroll in ITT and take electrical courses. Much to Matt’s surprise, there was a great deal of math involved in his classes. What was he to do, as he had ditched his math classes in high school? So Mark took Matt under his wing and helped Matt do his math homework. As time passed, Mark had to help Matt less frequently with his homework and Matt graduated from ITT’s electrical program.
Now, years later, Matt not only can do complicated math, he can’t understand why he skipped his classes in the first place. Plus, Matt has gone on to become a Foreman and run complicated commercial electrical jobs.
Mark “mentored” Matt simply through the bonds of their friendship. Consequently Mark showed Matt both a career he would enjoy, and showed Matt how to conquer his fear of math. Peer to peer mentoring is only one example of mentoring. Peer to peer mentoring can be an older child helping a younger child. It can also be an adult helping a child or helping a friend, or it can be as simple as a co-worker helping another worker.
What DOES Mentoring mean to YOU?