MENTORSHIP…Passing the baton

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One of the key differences between successful people and unsuccessful people is that the former want to see others succeed while the latter secretly hope others fail…

Is there any hope?” An old man asked while watching a group of teenagers. His face was full of despondency and whilst shaking his head, he queried: “Who will pass on the baton?” He then went into a tirade, lamenting at how Westernisation has snatched from Africans the virtue of mentoring the young.

He called to mind days of yore, when his elders sat him down and impacted to him the ways of the land and when his time came, he did not fail the generation that came immediately after him. Now he wonders when the rain started beating us.

He then stood up, looked around him in oblivion and walked away muttering to himself. But the message had hit home – now, more than ever, is the time to pass the baton through mentorship.

That mentorship helps to shape the future is in no doubt. In mentorship, a more knowledgeable or experienced individual seeks to guide a less knowledgeable or less experienced individual so that he/she might reach her full potential.

The age of the mentor does not matter for as long as the person has a certain area of expertise that may benefit the mentee (the person being mentored). Mentorship is best exemplified in the Bible where we encounter Moses grooming Joshua for leadership role.

Hence Joshua’s successful leadership could be attributed in part to Moses’ tutelage. We should thus draw from Moses’ grooming of Joshua the principles of succession planning.

One thing that is striking about our Indian brothers and sisters is their ability to mentor their young ones. It is common to find a middle-aged Indian man at his shop being assisted by his son or daughter and sure enough, when age catches up with him, you will find his son managing the shop with his young one. Undeniably, they have mastered the art of mentoring their young ones, and we ought to borrow a leaf from them.

A story is told of a very rich man who spent his heydays amassing wealth through diligence. Indeed, he was so wealthy that his family lacked nothing. When he passed on, his children automatically inherited their father’s wealth.

Unfortunately, the rich man had not taught his children the values of self-discipline and they squandered that which their father had worked his tail off. In the end, the only piece of land they had remained with was a small patch where the remains of their father had been interred. This sums up the need to mentor our children to grow up into responsible people.

One of the key differences between successful people and unsuccessful people is that the former want to see others succeed while the latter secretly hope others fail. Hence to be a mentor calls for a lot of selflessness. Admittedly, there is a lot of satisfaction that emanates from watching your mentee reach his/her full potential. And when you breathe your last, you die a happy person knowing that you have left the world in good hands.

Virtually all spheres in our life require mentorship, whether it is in marriage, career, studies, you name it. A good mentor thus commits to the cause, has a listening ear, is patient, is open minded and compassionate, is a role model and above all, invests in the mentee. Take up the clarion call and be a mentor to those who look up to you. And as they say, advice is cheap, but mentorship is worth its weight in gold. Go on; adopt a mentee.

 

in November 2015

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