How to Forge a Mentoring Relationship

How to Forge a Mentoring Relationship.

–by Patrick Cook-Deegan, syndicated from Greater Good,

Intergenerational mentoring carries many benefits, but it’s becoming more and more rare. Here are some tips for renewing an age-old practice.

When I was in high school, I had a lot of big questions.

I wanted to know if it was possible to devote your life to your work without compromising your integrity. I wanted to know how to be a powerful man without being a jerk. And I could not understand why so many adults seemed to be okay with the systematic injustices that plagued my hometown.

I read dozens of biographies as a teenager, in search of some answers. But for many years, I did not feel safe talking to an adult about any of this, for fear of being told I was crazy. I craved a deep connection with someone from an older generation who would hear my questions, sympathize with my confusion, and perhaps even set me on a path toward some satisfying answers.

Fortunately, the father of one my best friends took an interest in me. He was a quirky guy: He had messy gray hair, always smiled, and lived in a funky house in the woods. He was curious and caring toward me without ever being overbearing or judgmental. He seemed different from the other adults. He seemed at peace with himself, his family, his work, and the world. As a young person I understood that he had something that I wanted: a sense of belonging, of being at home in the world. My relationship with my friend’s dad opened up a whole new world for me outside the confines of traditional suburban Maryland.

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Why Mentoring is such a Powerful Concept

“Fixing and helping create a distance between people, but we cannot serve at a distance. We can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected”. –Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

Helping, Fixing or Serving?

–by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, syndicated from, Apr 16, 2012

Helping, fixing and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.

Service rests on the premise that the nature of life is sacred, that life is a holy mystery which has an unknown purpose. When we serve, we know that we belong to life and to that purpose. From the perspective of service, we are all connected: All suffering is like my suffering and all joy is like my joy. The impulse to serve emerges naturally and inevitably from this way of seeing.

Serving is different from helping. Helping is not a relationship between equals. A helper may see others as weaker than they are, needier than they are, and people often feel this inequality. The danger in helping is that we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity or even wholeness.

When we help, we become aware of our own strength. But when we serve, we don’t serve with our strength; we serve with ourselves, and we draw from all of our experiences. Our limitations serve; our wounds serve; even our darkness can serve. My pain is the source of my compassion; my woundedness is the key to my empathy.

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Helping, Fixing or Serving?