I've been pondering the blog prompt this week. Exactly what is a mentor? Have I ever had a true mentor? Who were they? What did they do?
I first learned of the idea of a mentor while reading an article in the business section of the newspaper many years ago. In the corporate world, many young proteges were being assigned a mentor to teach them about everything from business etiquette to business ethics.
I had been assigned a "lead teacher" when I began teaching. Her role was to walk me through the first year, and answer any questions about practices, lesson plans, while critique my teaching techniques along with the principal.
My lead was a nice woman who had no experience in mentoring, therefore, I had huge gaps in my learning. I made plenty of mistakes, and was completely worn out by the end of the school year. Teaching back then was more often flying by the seat of your pants. I learned quickly how to stay on top of the job.
Many years later, when I changed careers, I had the privilege of sharing office space with an Irish Sister of Mercy. She was twenty-three years my senior, and had entered the convent in the late 50's. She embraced Vatican II with gusto, and took advantage of her expanding opportunities, earning a Master's Degree in Theology. She was a smart, strong, opinioned female who was not afraid to speak her mind.
She was my guide spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. She taught me how to listen with my heart, not just my ears. She pushed me to believe in my abilities, play on my strengths, acknowledge my weaknesses.
I loved spending time with her, and learned so much about life from her stories and sage advice. I often cited her as my mentor and guide as I moved on from that parish to another.
I have another guide who led me to give a voice to the words that swirl through my head. He encourages me, mainly by example, on how to live a creative life. In our conversations about the creative process I find many parallels between his pursuit of musical composition, and my passion for expressing myself through my writing.
I've been lucky enough to share the last few years with my creative guide, my husband. He's been my biggest cheerleader, and mentor.
Causes Annette Talbert Supports
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, RIF (Reading is Fundamental),
Hands On Foundation, Dignity U Wear, Girls, Inc.