Mentoring by UnderstandingJuly 7, 2016
Written by Pup Kona on PAH’s Without Borders
When I was up in Anchorage, Alaska attending the Northern Exposure 7 weekend, there was a flag hanging on one of the walls with a marker next to it. That flag was there as a remembrance of those that have fallen in the Orlando shooting at Pulse during their pride weekend. People were encouraged to write their names and a message, showing their love for those that were lost, their families, and our community. As I stood and looked at the flag, reading over the messages of those who paid their respects, an older gentlemen walked up next to me, staring intensely at the flag as well. A minute had passed before he let out a sigh and said “This shouldn’t have happened to your generation”.
I remember taking a moment to absorb the statement that was given, reminding me of all the hardships that the generation before us went through to give us the life we have today. I turned to him and in return replied “I will be walking in the pride parade with my head held high and proud along with my friends and community, so that everything that your generation had to suffer through won’t be in vain”. He turned and replied “thank you”, signing the flag and then walking back into the bar crowd.
When faced with tragedies or adversity what does one do? What actions should you take in justification for the events that transpired?
Should you ignore it? Yell and spout out blame and criticism? Retaliate with violence or verbal abuse? Point fingers or treat it with understanding and rise above it?
The reason we mentor others is to help facilitate the health and growth of the person we take under our wing. How we conduct ourselves and the actions we choose can directly reflect and affect who we are mentoring. When taking on a mentoring role, you have a responsibility to protect that mentoree and nurture their continual growth and development.
You might not directly be telling your mentoree what to do, you might be just acting out in public or speaking openly on your own accord. Understand though that your actions you do on your own time, online, at work, or in public places can indirectly affect your mentoree either in a negative or positive way. This can, in turn, directly affect the mentality, viewpoint and how they develop and conduct themselves in the future.
Good situations, bad situations, tragedies, triumphs, failures… They are the way of life and happen to all of us in some capacity. Sometimes things happen that are to the level of devastation. While these instances happen to us as a community or as individuals, we have to be mindful of who we recognize, blame, point the finger at, and play judge, jury and executioner. One doesn’t dictate the many, and love/hate can easily spread across the many like wildfire. As mentors, take a clear perspective, assess the situation, and don’t take a mental stance that can lead in fallibility and a tainted mindset that can trickle into your community and your mentoree. We are quick to judge and late to recognize the ones that truly need our support and attention.
So be mindful! Be a mentor who looks at the world from all perspectives, puts their energy into those that truly need it, and recognizes the actions we take and the affect it has on those we love and mentor now and into our future.