My father is my inspiration. My father was born in South Carolina and worked as a chauffeur, tailor, and carpenter. He was drafted into the Army during WWII at the age of 35. He could not read at the time. He taught himself how to read. Education and reading were always stressed by him. Additionally, he stressed always being courteous, polite, and to look out for myself. He taught me to work hard, smart and always be conscious of the impression I made. It paid off and still pays off. I am doing my best to be half the man he was.What would you say is the most rewarding part of being a mentor?
The most rewarding part of being a mentor is having the opportunity to share my life experience with a young adult…both the good and the bad. I get to make a difference. The difference may be just getting my mentee to stop and think just for a moment before doing or saying something. My goal is to supplement the good things he is learning from his family and environment. Not replace anyone. I get to be another ear and another view with different experiences to help him navigate his life. I also get to learn from him. He has the chance to be another set of ears and a different view for me.
Where would you be today without mentors in your life?
I can honestly say I don’t believe I would have done as well or made all the good choices I have. I have had friends and relatives that made other choices and did not have as good an outcome. That could have been me had I not listened to at least some of what my father told me. And no I did not listen or do it all. Every day I find myself saying, “Okay dad, I get it.”
By Joseph Green, Program Coordination, Mentor Foundation USA