Here's a few of the thought running through my head on the matter of mentoring.
David wasn't the only person rolling his eyes over some of the posts in the past few weeks from 'younger' members on this forum. What is one to make out of all of this? My thoughts run as follows.
As someone who likes to think of himself as 'knowing' a thing or two, all one has to do is give advice a number of times to figure out:
1) From a practical point of view, it's hard to deal with questions that reveal little about the person asking. And the temptation to fill in the blanks is tremendous. And if the person in question has difficulty making sense to themselves, how can the reader make sense for them? Some self-responsibility is needed. Pointing this out is usually seen as a form of criticism. And in a forum like this, where the poster is supposed to be 'helped'- ie show the love we want to have-
, that is a no-no. Speaking personally, I think some well-placed criticism is par for the course. It may not be nice, it may not be pretty, and no one likes to have their face shoved in a mirror, but sometimes, that's what''s needed.
Originally Posted by a life example
An example from real life: teaching people to sing reveals some basic things about psychology. If you ask a person to look in a mirror to see what they are doing, they, 9 times out of 10, will avert their eyes. It takes them a long time to be able to look and listen at the same time. I believe the same is true in life. It takes a long time for a person to understand how they are coming across, much less get comfortable in their own skin and curious enough to really 'look' at things. The person who only can think about what they 'want' isn't- by and large- able to do this, if at all. And if they are in survival mode....good luck! Ideally, the student wants something more than having their 'problem' fixed.
2) The person assuming the role of 'mentor' is knighting him/herself. And who the heck cares? No one really. Helping people doesn''t come with a certificate. The only reward is the doing of the thing. And if one's 'help' is ignored or devalued...well...that's life. Not everyone who knows a thing or two is listened to. Sometimes people only 'learn' by doing, even if the 'doing' is the wrong thing. Some have to go over the cliff to know where the cliff is. Oops! There is it!
3) Those with little experience are often only concerned with themselves. They can be very grabby. And if they are in trouble, that's understandable. Give me what I want now!
They cry. Don't ask me to sweat a little. Don't tell me stories about how you walked 5 miles in the snow to get to school. Just shut up and give me what I want.
Chirp. Chirp. They are all mouth, open to receiving and nothing more. Keep this up and this person becomes a 'take-er'. And things get all muddled up when you have a room - virtual or not- of self-assigned 'giver's' and 'taker's' interacting.
4) We would do well to keep in mind that, while the interactions here seem 'real', they are, in fact, virtual. They are not the same as sitting in a room with another person, knee to knee, heart to heart, eyeball to eyeball. The non-verbal cues that one can glean in a second are not in evidence, which leaves a lot to be desired. As such, this points out, I believe, the need for actual community, as well as the need for everyone involved to tread lightly.
5) Reaching out to a forum like this is one of the wonderous things about our technological age. However, the old saints and mystics taught that one had to seek for answers, not in others, but in one's self. This takes courage as well as a degree of skill. We can hold hands over the web, but learning how to fold them in our own laps and look into our own hearts, minds and souls, is a necessity. No one can do this for us.