Saturday 13 February 2016

More Snows of Yesteryear

A strange phenomenon has been brought to my attention.  There is a way in which the world seems to be divided in to mentors and those who are mentored. (Can you imagine Liz writing 'mentee' ?)  There are those who are blessed with an intuitive understanding of what people are capable of and a talent for showing them how to achieve it.  There is, however, an uncomfortable consequence: the mentor is usually left behind as the fledging fledges leaving her/him behind, no longer wanted.

I suppose the inevitable starting point for this would be parenting. From help with shoe laces to help with Higher Mathematics - the latter not in Liz's household, I hasten to point out - there is a range of lessons and supervision which it would be not only impractical but tedious to recite. Then comes the day when the young are, if not wiser, at least fuller of contemporary knowledge than their erstwhile teachers and mentors. Currently, this must be truer than ever before. Planet Earth has exploded in to an orbit of technology unrecognisable to many of us who are seventy five going on forty. Any spirit fortunate (?) enough to think of returning to this planet would be tempted to sue for wrong delivery, finding themselves expected to twitter and face the book and to choose their onions sight unseen and delivered by a vehicle primed by a computer. The mentoring phenomenon becomes rather more unexpected when it moves from actual parenting of the young and very young, sprung from the mentor's loins, to any random adult hovering outside her or his potential, unable to take the plunge in to what seems to be the unsafe world of the possibly possible. A mentor may act through the physical, as when an accident or Fate have produced a malfunction. I am thinking of physiotherapists, nurses, speech therapists and so on. Mainly what I have in mind, though, is mentoring of the spirit. Think of a young person who, because of conditions over which she/he had no control, emerged in to young adulthood without the confidence to buy a loaf of bread, for instance. A handy mentor would find a way to instil the ability to undertake this seemingly mundane chore so that confidence would sprout and enable the 'student' to undertake even more tasks previously thought of as out of reach.
This rather simplistic example may be at one end of a spectrum which ends with the confidence to apply for a significant job, marry, perform and so on and so forth. However, in all cases, the mentor must watch as the 'student' plunges in to fulfilment and is soon out of sight while the mentor is, equally, soon out of mind. How often would YOU think back   to the person with the starting gun as you race, without her/him, to the finishing post? Prynhawn da


N said...

Deep and thought provoking

Anonymous said...

You are quite right Liz. With age one can become like a no-chance racehorse who 'also ran'