January 3, 2010

Who Mentored YOU?

One of the quickest ways to invite men into man-making is to get a bunch of them in a room and then ask them to talk about their mentors . . . the men who were influential in large and small ways in shaping their lives for the better. Uncles, neighbors, coaches, teachers, a boss, someone's dad, the guy at the local store . . . the list is endless. If it goes on for a while, quality remembering will begin to unfold memories which still have the power to wet a man's eyes. In those moments, there is no question about the importance of a caring man being involved with a young male.

Because January is National Mentoring Month, and January 6th just happens to be the sixth occurrence of Thank Your Mentor Day, I'm inviting you to remember a man or men, other than your father, who showed up for you when you were an adolescent. I asked this question of men when I was doing the research for the Man-Making book. To get you warmed up, you can read some of their responses at this link.

If you'd like more inspiration, check out the Who Mentored You? website hosted by the Harvard Mentoring Project. On their site you can listen to audio interviews about the special mentoring relationships of familiar celebrities such as Maya Angelou, Tom Brokaw, Ray Charles, Richard Dreyfuss, Clint Eastwood, Gloria Estefan, Quincy Jones and many more.

The lesson in all these stories is everyone has or had mentors. Some of them were intentional, some official, and some so informal we may not realize the impact of the relationship till late in our lives. In case you do remember an important mentor in your life, the good folks at the Harvard Mentoring Project have put up a special webpage where you can leave a written tribute to that person. I think it's a great exercise I guarantee will warm your heart.

Of course in honor of Thank Your Mentor Day you could also call or write your past or current mentors and directly acknowledge them for the gift of their influence. The next best thing to thanking one of your mentors this month would be to find a young guy and let him have the gift of your influence.

Happy New Year


Happy National Mentoring Month. 

1 comment:

  1. Jim - 478:45 PM

    I was lucky enough to be mentored in my youth; youth groups, athletics, scouting, neighbors and local dads.
    It contributed to my identity in a great way; men showed me the way by being present and leading. I recall a life-saving
    course and all that it required. The premise was to save people and one mentor taught me that reality; a man taught me,
    a boy, age 15, to save people in the water. Thoughs skills have helped me and he helped me be a man by teaching me
    at behave like a man. He taught the course and he was masculine and capable; the same way I became around his
    example. The athletic aspects of the course and being with the men who taught the course in the water was great.


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