Weekly Thought – January 18,2022
Fred knew at an early age he wanted to stretch others. He understood the value of being mentored even though that word wasn’t in the current vernacular in mid-century America. His thoughts on the subject stretch others even 15 years after his trip to heaven.
In a healthy mentoring relationship all the cards are put on the table. For that to occur, there must be trust between the two. I am careful to keep confidential anything that is shared with me. I once said I will die holding in confidence years of stories and private conversations. I consider it a privilege and great responsibility to be given that level of trust.
Though I have been mentoring for over forty years, I have never successfully improved anyone’s character – nor have I endeavored to do so. I am convinced the only way to improve character in adults is a spiritual experience. Sophisticated individuals may learn to mask or hide their flaws, but under pressure their character will fail… usually when they can least afford this failure. Dishonesty, laziness, anger, greed, selfishness, and lack of cooperation – all are examples of character flaws.
Another critical aspect of healthy growth is climbing and plateauing. We progress by climbing and then plateauing for assimilation… and repeating this process over and over. Sadly some reach a permanent plateau, seduced by comfort and routine. It is the mentor’s responsibility to see in the mentoree potential unseen by the individual, then motivating the process repeatedly until full talent and potential are realized.
Assisting in the Identification and development of what I call a person’s uniqueness is the clear responsibility of a mentor. Beyond that is the instruction in the joy of accomplishment. I learned this from my mentor, Maxey Jarman. Whenever I get low I immediately start to do something that I feel will be worthwhile. The joy of living returns.
The great operatic star Beverly Sills personified this attitude. One afternoon at a cocktail party held in her apartment one guest said, “We better leave, Beverly has to sing tonight. She protested, “No, I don’t have to sing tonight – I GET to sing!”
I want the mentoree to understand he has control. Sometimes it becomes nonproductive and needs to end. I never question why. Sometimes it becomes unproductive and it needs to end; I accept this as normal.
Mutual respect is crucial. I have never had any success helping anyone I did not respect. I have tried before, but it always failed miserably.
As a young man I recognized my life’s theme was going to be stretching. In fact, I have asked my family to engrave my headstone “He stretched others.” Mentoring has been an effective way of living out that desire.
This week carefully consider: 1) Who are my mentors? 2) What are areas of needed character development?3) What is my uniqueness?
Words of Wisdom: “Character flaws cannot be changed by mentoring – only by a spiritual experience.”
Wisdom from the Word: “An honorable man makes honorable plans; his honorable character gives him security.” (Isaiah 32:8 NET Bible)