Mentoring and Life

Mentoring is a topic that is often mentioned, but is not often followed through with.  Organizations often attempt to put structured programs into place, but these programs typically are not effective or are so rigid that they do not flex to meet the needs of those involved.

I attended a breakfast yesterday morning in Nashville for the Big Brothers-Big Sisters organization where the topic of mentoring connected for me on three different levels.  Let me explain what I mean.

BBBS is a national program that focuses on putting young men and women into mentoring relationships where they can grow and benefit from the experience of others.  That level of mentoring was obvious to all in attendance.

The second level of mentoring became apparent when the keynote speaker, Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt Baseball, spoke about how he and his coaches seek for form mentoring relationships with their players.  Being a strong supporter of this program, I can personally testify to the effectiveness of this group and to the leadership that Coach Corbin brings to his players.

The third level involves my relationship with my sons and how I often mentor them, sometimes without often know it, in life.  My older son was also in attendance in this event and he has had the opportunity to be involved with many programs where he has been involved in either supporting mentoring or being a mentor on his own.  This started with his involvement in Scouting while in Middle and High School, but he continues to do more of this through youth sports and Scouting.

It gives me great satisfaction and makes me proud to see one of my own reflect the mentoring spirit that I had hoped he would receive during his formative years.  I am proud to say that his brother also reflects many of the same characteristics through his work with the ACE Mentor program in Washington DC.

Mentoring is effective for both the mentor and the mentee.  The true test, at least in my eyes, is when the mentee becomes the mentor and continues to give back to others.

What types of mentoring relationships have you been involved with?