Wednesday, February 1, 2012

You're Not Mentoring?!

I get into debates - mostly with men - about why it's always a good time to mentor.

What I usually get is: "I'm not where I need to be."
"I don't have time."
"I'm no authority on anything."
"What do I have to offer?"
"I'm still f*cked up in the game."

They base whether or not they should mentor on where they believe they are in their American Dream. Often, their fantastical American Dreaming includes having that degree, having a certain amount of money at their disposal, having a better credit score, having a better living situation, having some notoriety in their industry, having a better reputation, having, having, having - more, better, different.

What is overwhelmingly absent is their reflection on who they are and what they are doing.  Are you resourceful, confident, committed, creative, brilliant, generous?  Do you exercise regularly, show women in your life the love and respect you'd want for your mother, aunties, sisters? Do you speak on behalf of people that don't have a voice in particular spheres?  Do you demonstrate mastery in chess, numbers and logic, capoeira, photoshop, reason, photography, basketball, computer programming, freestyling?

You're not where you "need" to be - mentor a kid and have them witness how you flip it, showing them how it's done.

You don't have time - mentor someone on the job or e-mentor.

You're not an authority - don't pretend to be; be the one to bring authorities to a group of kids in an afterschool program.

Think you don't have anything to offer - what passions or interests do you have: chess, numbers and logic, capoeira, photoshop, reason, photography, basketball, computer programming, freestyling?  Have your connection be based solely on this. (*Think old guys in the park schooling the youngins in chess.)

You're still f*cked up in the game - get over your disappointment about what didn't happen the way you wanted it to and begin creating the life you want.  Often the prospect of having children, or mentoring one, forces us to do the work we put off.

Get involved.  Change a life and your own.

The Future Project
National Cares Mentoring Movement
I Could Be
Infinite Family
Big Brothers, Big Sisters of New York
National Mentoring Partnership
Mentoring Partnership of New York
Mentoring USA

(*Photo: DJ Dhundee teaches music production using iPad2 with the Beat Makers Music Production Program)