Today will end my first full week as an intern at The Mentoring Project. When I told people what I was going to do for the summer, I got a lot of responses. Many people said things like, “I wish I had the time to mentor,” or “That seems like a cool idea!” This was sort of mind-boggling to me because it made it seem like mentoring was a foreign idea or something unknown that they had not heard of.
This was so crazy to me because everyone that said that was a mentor. So, here you have a mentor talking about how mentoring is a new idea to them. Ironic, right?
I think there’s this idea that mentoring is a special, delegated, scheduled, activity that only people with volunteer badges participate in. It’s quite the contrary, actually.
Everyone is a mentor.
How is that true? It’s true because everyone is connected to someone else. If you have any direct or indirect interaction with someone then you’ve been mentoring. So the question is not are you a mentor but what kind of mentor are you? We are all influenced by the people around us. Everything you do has the potential to affect someone else, for good or for bad. We are all farmers, planting seeds with our words and our deeds. Whether we like it or not, we are all mentors. Some teaching helpful skills, others modeling destruction.
The mom that drives a carpool of kids to school every morning is a mentor.
The eighth grade Algebra teacher is a mentor.
The third grade student that pushes the younger kids on the swing at recess is a mentor.
The drug dealer interacting with his clients is a mentor.
We communicate things to others when we’re present and when we’re absent. Our actions speak clear words to others. We are all teachers and we are all students. Now that you know you’re a mentor, you can learn how to do it the right way. This is where The Mentoring Project steps in.
This post is by Raven, one of The Mentoring Project's outstanding summer interns. Follow the interns' summer journey here on The Mentoring Project's blog.
Right now, our interns and staff are up to their elbows working on The Mentoring Project's annual #dontbuythetie campaign. This hybrid fundraiser and advocacy effort allows you to give your Dad/Mentor a unique gift and help The Mentoring Project recruit, train and match more mentors at the same time. This makes Father's Day a whole new ball game.