We are helped down the path of life by many different people. Some of these people are parents, some are schoolteachers, and some are authority figures like police officers. These people teach us the basics; they instill basic morals in us, they teach us our time tables and algebra, and they reveal to us the consequences of breaking the law. They teach us these basic lessons because it is their job to do so, not necessarily because they want to.
In my life, I have been helped by another group of people; I call these people mentors. It was not their job to help me, they were not assigned to me by an agency or counseling office, they were simply friends and aquaintances who took a personal interest in my life. These people helped to fill in some of the blanks in my overall education and , unlike my parents, gave me un-biased opinions of my life. I believe that everyone should seek out a mentor at some point in their lives. I have had two mentors during my life, and I honestly believe that my life would not have turned out as it has without their special guidance.
My first mentor was also one of my earliest childhood friends. His name was Cody and he was five years ahead of me in school and six in life. He taught me the important things that I would need to know during the early years of my life, like how to deal with playground bullies and how to build a treehouse. Later, he helped me cope with the pressures of high school and he also helped me to develop a better taste in music. He was a “Gen X-er”, older than my peers and younger than my parents, giving him knowledge that the former did not have and that the latter had forgotten. He passed this knowledge onto me, as did the mentor that followed him.
I met my second mentor,Sean, during my final year of high school. He was the butcher at the grocery store in which I worked at that time. He prepared me for my current stage in life by warning me not to repeat his own mistakes. During one long night by a campfire in 2004, he told me his entire life story with the hope that my life would not mirror his. Most people would have called Sean a failure. He was 23, with a dead-end job and a rapidly receding hairline. Most people would say that he was not a role-model, and they would be right. Sean was a mentor, and a mentor does not have to be perfect in the same way that a role-model does. Role-models are larger than life figures that we are supposed to strive to be more like, but mentors are actual humans, just like the rest of us, who are just a little bit older and wiser, who have been where we are and can teach us what they have learned from previous mistakes. I believe that it is valuable for everyone to have a mentor; I believe this so strongly that I have recently become a mentor to some younger people, with the hope that I might have a positive effect on their lives, as my mentors had upon mine.
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