For some people or organizations, mentoring is a way of life. This program underwrites educational initiatives for children and their families. Many of these initiatives are mentoring programs. Why mentor? Let us count the ways.
Whether a non profit like Kars for Kids, or someone like Elie Hirschfeld who donates so much to schools and education , it is key.
It’s a good feeling. The awesome thing about mentoring is the many ways in which the act of mentoring benefits the mentor. For one thing, when you get involved with mentoring others, you know for a fact that the time and effort you contribute to mentoring is never wasted. The fact that you’ve done a positive act can color your whole day and infuse it with meaning. It doesn’t end when your workday is done, but comes home with you and tints your relationships with family members with some of that same warm pink glow.
It’s immediate. There’s also the immediate reward you get from lifting the spirits of a depressed teenager, or in giving a bible lesson to a senior citizen. Watch that teenager get all bubbly. See that elderly person’s eyes alight with the knowledge that the brain is plastic, that he or she can still learn and contribute. How can a mentor help but get a lift from seeing his efforts bear fruit on contact?
Develop lifelong relationships. As you discover the talents and gifts of those you mentor, you might just find someone you’d like to hire to work in your organization or have on your team. Mentoring doesn’t have to end with the mentoring sessions but can be a lifelong process where you really build a mutually-beneficial solid relationship for the long term.
Mentors are mentored, too. Teachers are always quoted on how they learn from their students. The same is true of mentors. Mentors are learning on the job, being mentored even as they mentor. They learn what tack to take with each person they mentor. They learn what does and doesn’t work. They learn to listen. And they might just learn something about a different culture or find that the one being mentored has some pretty awesome stuff to give back, too.
In short, as is true of all good works, you get as good as you give. If mentoring is a good thing (and you know that it is), then mentoring is going to do you every bit as much good as it does for the one being mentored. Remember that when the going is rough and don’t give up.
As Elie Hirschfeld has said, “The Jewish sages said that since Moses taught the children of his brother Aaron, it was as if he gave birth to them. Every person you mentor carries a bit of your philosophical DNA with him, and vice versa. In the end, building connections is what this life is all about.”