Growing up on the south side of Chicago can be pretty daunting, although the opportunities abound; without a good mentor and mentoring shadow overlooking your every move, the pressure of every day can take you down the drain. As a black man, the incline to serve is an act of compassion, to extend an arm of generosity to the next person like me; have I done enough? Am I doing enough?
For those of us that have carved a unique path; it was all due to having the right mentor and attending the best mentoring programs.
Mentorship has gone beyond academic walls to the young man that wants to see you push through the barriers to become great. A mentor is anyone that is aiming to be a positive change in your life regardless of the obstacle and hindrances. A mentor can be anyone; a pastor, lawyer, profession, policeman, investigator or even a business owner in your neighborhood, the main focus is your ability to drive positivity to the people you meet daily. To be a good mentor, the characteristic to possess goes beyond the mastery of talking or convincing people into doing what is right or doing it. As a mentor, your responsibilities include giving critical and unbiased advice, providing a support system, expanding the development skills of the younger or naïve individual, providing assistance and living and leading by example. To put it mentoring comes from different source by different people in different conditions.
As younger and innovative minds teaming with a wealth of knowledge to change the political circle, mentoring has become a very crucial aspect of sustaining the change to leadership and our political system. Furthermore, potential leaders and innovators should be mentors in their societies and at home, before they can be qualified to take up any political and leadership role in our community. It does not make them the best for the position, but it makes them the most suitable because of their mentoring skills, passion, and changes in the way our society functions with power.
Mentoring is not a day’s job but activity and lifestyle that aims to build trusted and meaning relationship with the mentee. It dates back to ancient Greece civilization as a way to develop sound moral, spiritual, social, and behavioral attitude and commitment in young men to become useful to the society. Even though ways of mentoring differs today, the concept and importance of mentoring have remained focused on catering for youth particularly young girls, boys, women, and men.
The importance of a good mentor is:
Make you comfortable: most mentees have difficult backgrounds and are trouble youths filled with anger and resentment of how the society treats them. It is the mentor’s job to understand their perspective before imposing their ideology on the mentee. As a mentor, your number one priority is to see to it that you break the cocoon preventing the mentee from trying out new experiences. To do this, encircle the individuals with people with the same experience to know firsthand the process.
Determine your strengths and weakness: every person has a breaking point, and it is up to a mentor to discover your strengths and work to improve your weakness to benefit the individual in question. Furthermore, it is always good to find a mentor that has a different mindset and has worked with others like you in the past or presently.
Creates opportunity: probably the most significant responsibility of a mentor; working with troubled and jobless youth from my ward, it is not uncommon to get excuses for being on the streets as no opportunity and people not willing to give them a chance. Some talents ones don’t get the required opportunities due to poor personal grooming and been in the right circle. As a mentor in my ward, I started a barber’s shop, where young men and women can get a haircut and give them a chance in society. Furthermore, the shop is also an environment that provides shelter, company, open discussion between those present with good food to make them comfortable. We have also organized trips but educational and fun-filled to open them to a different way of life and boost their ability and chances of getting a job after the program.
Develop a trustworthy relationship: with over twenty years of mentoring youths, I understand that trust, sincerity, honesty, and openness has taken me to the nooks and crannies of Southside Chicago. It has also opened my eyes to how these youths see and visualize the society and why their anger is so deep, but thankfully, through partnership mentoring programs and years of experience, we have turned the lives of hundreds of kids around to be positive and moving forces in their field of play.
Help in times of need: mentors need to be flexible to allow mentees to reach them when in need. It will allow the coach to keep track of his mentee and continue mentoring even after they are through with the program.
Mentoring is changing and impacting the lives of most individuals; whether you are mentoring alone or in collaboration with an organization, it provides the foundational structure in the life of the mentee. A good mentoring program should cover every aspect of the mentee and an after program that stays in touch and accesses their well-being.
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