January is national mentoring month.
So what does it mean to be a mentor? What does it mean to have a mentor?
Let’s look at a pop culture reference for an example of a great mentor and what they mean. The first one that comes to mind is Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore throughout the Harry Potter books and films.
Dumbledore guides Harry as he grows up through the different challenges that we all face in our lives. For Harry, Dumbledore is the person he can turn to when he is having a difficult time with a friendship or a romantic relationship and he will help him navigate through the sometimes rough terrain.
Dumbledore is Harry’s mentor but also gives him enough room to figure things out and face certain challenges on his own to be able to learn from those things. I believe this is what made Dumbledore one of the best mentors and one that we should strive to mirror. He allowed Harry to learn things on his own, but also gave him advice for when things were more challenging for Harry.
As Dumbledore said, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
This mentorship is similar to the mentorship of Sean Maguire and Will Hunting from the movie “Good Will Hunting”. Sean was Will’s therapist, but was also a mentor to him. As his therapist he allowed him to have the space to figure out certain challenges that his life brought him. Sean also stayed right beside Will throughout his healing journey and it was something that Will was not used to in his life.
Mentors, as well as therapists, meet our clients where they are in their journey and give them the time and space to heal.
There is no timeline to healing and that is what Sean was able to help Will learn, or “unlearn”. Will was unlearning through Sean by his side the whole time that there is no timeline to heal.
“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”– Sean Maguire
Mentors along with therapists meet their clients or mentees where they are and give them the time and space to go on their healing journey. Being a mentor in someone’s life can make all the difference to that person.
So mentor up or therapist up; whether it is this month, next month or whenever you are ready and challenge yourself this year to go on your healing journey. Whatever that means to you.
Written by: Hannah Simmons