Most people can appreciate the role of a mentor and even support mentoring programs, but do they stop and think about how much a young person is affected by a good mentor? The answer is probably not and that is rather sad. Young people are faced with so many obstacles and constant pressure to fit in with their peers; it is that way today and it was that way 100 years ago. Perhaps it is worth having a closer look at just how a mentor can influence and effect positive changes in the life of a young person.
Mentors have a generally bright outlook on life, even in times of despair and can show young people how to do the same. A mentor always has a kind word and determination to succeed not just in school or business, but as a human being. This is the kind of attitude young people need to observe, instead the negative influences that can creep in through friends and even their environment.
It is great to have a positive attitude, but if it is not accompanied by positive actions, then it means nothing. The point is, a person can talk a good game all day long, but if they do not back up what they say with their actions, then they are just blowing a lot of hot air. For example: you are told not to hit other people by someone that hits you on a regular basis. That would be insane (and wrong), wouldn’t it? Young people need to see that actions can speak louder than words and positive actions and behavior will get them a lot farther in life.
A mentor can provide the morale boost that a young person needs in their life. So many kids are left to their own devices at a such a young age and have no one they can look to for praise or even a shoulder to cry on once in awhile. A mentor can offer that young person encouragement when no one else seems to care. Perhaps the young person is interested in pursuing a career or field of study that no one around them understands, this is where a mentor can be of great assistance as well.
This is a really big deal for some youngsters; the feeling of being safe. Whether it is physical safety, safety from being ridiculed or safe to talk about how much they love poetry, a mentor can become almost like a safety zone. When the young person is around their mentor, they know nothing bad will happen to them.
Someone to look up to
The best kind of mentor is someone who has first hand experience overcoming obstacles in their life. It is much easier to talk about how to overcome personal battles, if you have had some to overcome! The young person can look at their mentor and know that they are not just trying to fill them full of smoke and promises that will be broken. For example: a recovering drug addict (many years sober of course) can talk to a young drug user much easier than someone who has never even smoked weed once. The mentor can tell their story and how they overcame their addiction and give the young person a positive role model to look up to.
If you have ever had the privilege of having a mentor, then you know what a huge impact they can have on people, like yourself. Many people choose a mentor that they have never even met in person, to look up to for inspiration. Actors, writers, sportsmen/women and family members are just some examples of people that can be wonderful mentors. One way to look at mentoring is it can be a ray of hope for a young person who desperately needs it.