I’ve been in a few situations lately where the role of mentor was defined, celebrated and encouraged. My son participates in a mentorship program at his high school. The students get high school credit for spending 2-4 hours a week working with a mentor in a field of interest to them. My son works with a financial advisor downtown each week and now he tells me the difference between stocks and stock options and he’s helping to solve the city’s budget problems. And he’s found an adult who knows him personally and has invested time in his growth and understanding of himself.
I had a meeting this morning with the director of a non-profit group who is creating mentorship relationships with teen fathers in the community, so they become positive and active contributors in their children’s lives. Fathers who volunteer to check in with young dads, go shoot hoops, sign up for childcare assistance benefits, or play with their baby together. This way, young fathers can learn how to be involved and what to do, even if they didn’t have a good role model in their own families.
My daughter’s swim coach is preparing her to swim the 500 free. Their interactions are so important as she understands herself and her ability to reach a goal. He cheers her on, he knows her struggles, and he believes she’s capable of something she can’t yet imagine.
It got me thinking about the importance of mentors in our lives. Children and adults both can learn and change more easily in the context of healthy relationships. When there is someone in your life that “has your back”, someone that shows up with acceptance and guidance; you can manage stress, deal with change, and feel good about yourself. You can learn about things you value and how to acquire new skills with healthy leadership.
How many relationships are there in your life where there may be an opportunity to either HAVE a mentor or BE a mentor? Ask yourself where do you need guidance in your life to make a positive change or learn something new? Where do you need help because you can’t do it on your own? Where can you give a helping hand, a comforting connection? I’m fortunate in my work to know that support and guidance from a mentor creates motivation and determination. My clients consistently say that having a plan, someone to encourage and guide them, gives them the courage to continue and make bigger changes in their lives than they imagined. The relationship is the most important thing. The way we connect with others is what enables us to do great things in our lives.
So, I challenge you… be a mentor or find a mentor. Or both. Consider every relationship an opportunity to become a better person.
CLD, CPD, CLE®, ICCE, FACULTY
Abby Bordner started her career in Women’s Health. She began at Planned Parenthood in Portland, OR where she was trained as a health counselor for contraception and HIV/AIDS. She had her first child in 1999, when she began her interest in birth work. She pursued her doula certification, shortly after became a childbirth educator and eventually a lactation educator, as well. She teaches many educational workshops related to birth and parenting. She started an online parent education and personal support coaching business called Relationship Based Parenting. Her passion is working with families as a health and wellness educator to build skills that support compassionate families and all the important dynamics within it. She has two children and lives in Santa Fe, NM.