Did you know you are a mentor?

Dad and Kid Carving
Image by TGIGreeny via Flickr

You volunteered.  You’re already doing it.  You may not realize it yet, but if you are a parent, you serve as a mentor.

Mentoring is all the rage.  All the cool kids are doing it.

From salesmen to CEO’s, people seek out wise mentors to take them to the next business level.  They’ll pay big bucks, take classes, and invest in books.   If you write, you need a mentor.  If you garden, you need a mentor.  Chefs require mentors, and so does much of life.

Find someone you respect and trust, ask them if anyone ever guided them.  Chances are you’ll hear about that amazing person who helped them on the next career track.  So, it’s only a career thing, right? Wrong?

Have you heard of life coaching?  That’s a form of mentorship.  Therapists and counselors serve as a type of mentor.  Those stinking mentors are everywhere.  Wish you had one?

You did.

The first and main mentors in our life develop from the continuous caregivers with whom we live out the first years.  Our speech patterns and style of walking get copied by the kids.

If you are a parent, you know it’s true.  Our kids echo back to us the things we say, and it often doesn’t sound as good as we thought it would.  We cannot teach by merely saying the right words.  If you’ve had a mentor, you know observation is the best teaching tool.

Dancers first see dance teachers move the pattern, then they can recreate it.  Parents send their kids to driving school, knowing they will follow what they see.    As the saying says, “Experience is the best teacher.”

Heads up Mom and Dad, they don’t do as we say, they do as we do.  If we chow down on candy repeatedly, the odds show they will too.  If we drink excessively, visual example teaches more than DNA.  If we jog or read or eat leafy greens or indulge in tons of T.V., well you get the point.

It’s a big responsibility and occasionally is scares the snot right out our noses, but that’s parenthood baby.  All the whining in the world won’t change the truth, the day we became parents, we became mentors.

So, knowing that truth, let’s decide what we most want to teach.  Guess who has to learn it first?  That’s right mentor Mom and Dad, we have to learn it to teach it.  If we don’t, they’ll learn what we really teach, whether we like it or not.

My choice today:

Open my eyes to see what I’m teaching my kids, and do something about it.

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