Understanding the need for a mentor and what makes a great one!
Good or bad, children gain wisdom from everything they come across . From the family and people outside the family, to the content they watch on TVs, it is the stage when they would absorb life lessons from everything and everybody. The nature of knowledge and information they are exposed to in these crucial formative years decides what they become in the later stages of life. So, as a parent, are you sure that your kid is receiving the right lessons?
Forget your kids, let’s talk about your childhood. How many times did you agree with your parents? Did you follow everything your wonderful teachers taught you at schools? Were you able to dodge bad knowledge and filter out only the good? Well, we guess your answer is ‘No’, and the reason is, you were too small!
The case is no different when it comes to your children. They are going through the same phase you went through once. Shouldn’t you try to provide them the help and guidance you may have missed out on?
This help and guidance can be provided by a mentor. We are not alone in saying this. A research by the North Carolina State University found out that, “people who had mentors when they were younger had greater intrinsic job rewards.”
So, how do you find a great mentor for your child? A mentor is usually a trusted, older adult who can be the source of encouragement, self-esteem, and guidance in your child’s life. But can anybody be a mentor?
Who can be a mentor?
A lot of parents might consider the presence of a teacher to be sufficient for all the guidance and mentoring their kids need. This can’t be more wrong!
Let’s consider a scenario:
Mr. Francis enrolled his son Sam into the best school in the region. Sam also attends some of the best tutorials in town. Although Mr. Francis made sure that Sam is under the guidance of some of the brilliant teachers, Sam’s scores continued to disappoint, leaving both Mr. Francis & Sam exasperated.
The inferences from the story, for us are:
- Sam was under extreme pressure
- Sam teachers were either unaware of his poor performance or they didn’t figure out how to help him
- Sam never received the necessary attention he deserved
Who is to be blamed here?
Some of you might think, ‘teachers’? Well, you are not entirely wrong, but consider the fact that teachers have to juggle between many students and many classes. And do they have enough tools and technology to help them in making right decisions for Sam? So, you are not entirely correct either. Teachers work under several limitations and when you are responsible for an entire class, the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few! And in absence of technology & tools, a teacher’s instinct can only go that far in making right calls to help student.
A mentor, however, would have taken keen interest on the evaluating performance of Raman and would have suggested ways to tackle it. A disturbed child might never talk about her/his issues with teachers or parents, but will never hesitate to share feelings with a mentor.
Mentors, can be anyone. They can be a family friend, relative, grandparent, sports coach, academic assistant, often a teacher but not necessarily. Both, a mentor and a teacher have distinguishing roles to play in one’s life. And in fact, teacher can be a great mentor.
So, how can a teacher be a mentor?
Teachers often make very good mentors provided they have time and resources for that. They make good mentors because:
- Unlike busy parents, they don’t have to look for opportunities to spend a significant amount of time with the child
- They make a perfect role model; teaching is one of the most respected professions, thus giving teachers a high regard
- Both, child and parent can easily put their trust on a teacher
The only limitation that prevents a teacher from being a mentor is work pressure. However, a private tutor can be a blessing in this case. Unlike regular teachers:
- Private tutors cater to needs of individual students
- Private tutors are more likely to be backed by technology. For instance, private tutors who conduct tuitions online have a number of tools and systems available at hand that allow them to observe a student more closely
- They don’t have to teach to a group of students. All the undivided attention and availability is for one child only
In other words, they can take the role of a teacher and a mentor, without any compromise.
In the words of great Bob Proctor,
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself and helps bring it out of you”
Think about it - Harry Potter without Dumbledore, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins without Gandalf, Rocky Balboa without Mickey Goldmill, Po without Master Shifu. Although fictional characters, the movies so effectively describes the relationship and impact of mentoring.
We are not debating whether parents are the right inspiration for their children or whether teachers are good at their jobs. We only intend to establish the need for and benefits of having a mentor for children and help parents identify a great mentor.