A mentor is someone who helps another learn the ways of the world—or specific tasks. Typically the mentor is someone with lots of experience or wisdom who is willing to devote time and energy to helping someone else succeed. A common example is Jiminy Cricket, the mentor to Pinocchio the puppet who wanted to become a real boy. Jiminy constantly lent advice and guidance through words of wisdom like, “Now you see the world is full of temptations. Yep, temptations. They're the wrong things that seem right at the time... but... uh... even though the right things may seem wrong sometimes, or sometimes the wrong things... may be right at the wrong time, or vice versa.” Though Pinocchio did not always take his advice, Jiminy was patient and stuck around through the good and the bad.
To mentor those in poverty, we should learn lessons from Jiminy. First, mentors must remain active. If you’re not regularly checking-in on your protégé or working to teach he/she lessons, the protégé will not learn what you are trying to teach or he/she may lose respect for you as a mentor. Stay active. Stay seen. Stay helping. Second, mentors must remain patient. It is commonplace to expect others to do what you say, however life and interactions are not that systematic. People tend to take their own paths and make their own mistakes. Stay patient, and remember the role of the mentor is to guide through both good and bad situations. Lastly, mentors must remain trustworthy. This last lesson is twofold. In order to remain trustworthy the mentor must keep the protégé’s secrets confidential and the mentor must lead by example. Trust is necessary for the mentor/protégé relationship to be successful.
Chapter 7 of Bridges Out of Poverty details the inner workings of the mentor/protégé relationship and the importance for mentors in building bridges out of poverty. Reference the chapter, and share your thoughts. What are you doing to be a great mentor?