Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Who Is Your Mentor?

I think I am probably not the only person who has sought mentors in her life. Have you? I have looked for mentors in career, spirituality/Christianity, parenting, marriage, and yes, in my writing. There have been many wonderful people in my life who showed up at just the right time. People whom I listened to and guided me through the troubled waters, to the right path and any other metaphor you want to name!

Chip MacGregor on a writers' list once set up mentoring groups. He called them Pauls, Barnabases, & Timothys. The point was to set up a Paul with a Timothy and then a friend group, Barnabas. I don’t know if any of them worked out because of so many expectations and definitions for the word "mentor."

Betty Southard in her book, The Mentor Quest said about mentor myths: “Even the title ‘mentor’ often scares away a potential mentor or seeker. It implies lessons, structure, discipline, accountability, and maybe most discouraging, time…we don’t really want to spend a lot of time working on growth.”

Here’s what she says the “mentee’s” part is:

1. Personal responsibility for own growth

2. Look for mentoring in everyday activities and chance encounters.

3. Recognize the mentors around you.

4. Wherever you are, maintain a teachable spirit.

She says to list people who make a difference in your life. I adjusted it to writing, but you can adjust the list to fit your need in your own life:

1. Teachers from school/conferences/editors/agents

2. Three (writer) friends

3. Five people who taught you (writing)

4. A few people who made you feel appreciated or special (in writing)

5. Five people (writers) whom you enjoy spending time with

6. Heroes (Authors) whose stories (writing journeys) inspire you

These people mentor you.

You can also be any of the above at one point or another to mentor someone else, I think. Can you think of people in the points above? I am thinking of them today, and it's amazing to me how God brought just the right person along at just the right times in my life. The most important step to the process is to always have a teachable spirit and to "look" for those whose wisdom can be observed.

One of the questions asked of the high scholars in our community newspaper is, "If you could have dinner with anyone, who would that be?" (And this can be from history, whatever.)

I would want to have a dinner party! Or perhaps a series of dinner dates. I do enjoy talking to people over dinner. (It sounds rather tempting since I'm restricting my food.)


Terra said...

Hi Crystal,
Mentors are so treasured, thanks for sharing your ideas about them. I accidentally, now that I think about it, became a mentor to a lady I recently met, from my church. I suggested a place to have 2 poems published and she was successful.
My musings on gardening and being a Christian author are at www.terragarden.blogspot.com
Good to meet you.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, Crystal dear! I'm thankful for each and every mentor God sends me. I'd rather He not send me, since I'd rather be the mentee!!


Pam Halter said...

"If you could have dinner with anyone, who would that be?"

Ohmygosh, how could I ever choose? Of course, I would have loved to have met Jesus personally. To sit on the grass and listen to Him speak. To have experienced being fed with the loaves and fishes.

But as a writer, I would love to talk with Tolkien.

As a Christian, I would love to have dinner with Hannah Hurnard (she wrote Hind's Feet on High Places.)

I could think of SO many people! HA! I bet we all could.

For mentors, God has brought many people into my life to mentor me. Some are sill in my life. Some are not. I suppose that's natural.

Cara Putman said...

Great post, Crystal!