Mentoring Keeps You Young at Heart!

by Patricia Reid-Waugh
(Kingston, Jamaica)

Mentor and Mentee

Mentor and Mentee

In my book 'Retirement A New Adventure', I encourage fellow retirees to pass on their wisdom through mentoring. I write:

"A mentor is someone who advises younger persons on all aspects of their lives, helping them to grow and benefit from the experience of others so that they do not have to learn the hard way."

Mentoring does not have to involve coughing up loads of money to support a young person. There are many young people who just need our time, our counsel, our encouragement and yes, our friendship.

We can mentor effectively by simply giving these young people experiences that they would not normally have. So, for retirees who are no longer earning, you can mentor with little financial outlay. There are many no cost and low cost activities and experiences happening in your communities that some young persons will appreciate.

Recently, I decided to visit the summer exhibition at the National Gallery of Jamaica. There is a 15 year old youngster I met in June who told me then that his favourite subject in school was Art. He got an excellent mark for Art on his school report. Having decided to go to visit the exhibition at the National Gallery, I saw this as a great opportunity to invite him to come along with me. This would enhance his love for the subject and give him some creative ideas for his own work when he gets back to school.

We had a terrific time hanging out together chatting, laughing and arguing our different points of view on the works we were viewing. For me it was a win/win experience.

Firstly, I didn't have to go alone. Secondly, it was refreshing discussing the various art works and hearing youthful reactions, opinions, perspectives and interpretations from this young man. Thirdly, it gave me so much joy seeing how excited he was as he declared, "I am just dying to go back to school to tell my classmates and teacher about this." A 15 year old boy "dying to go back to school" is a victory of epic proportion!

In my book, I ended the discussion on mentoring with these words, "Of course, mentorship is not for everyone. But for those who feel they have learned many things they wish they had known decades ago, opportunities to share that wisdom with younger people are all around if you are active in your community."

And as a bonus, mentoring a young person keeps you young at heart!

Comments for Mentoring Keeps You Young at Heart!

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Keep alert when mentoring
by: Craig/Minnepolis

Shortly after retiring, my college alumni ass'n, sought mentors for students at my alma mater. I volunteered and was matched with a young lady who was keen to get some career tips in the field of law.

Soon I was able to land her an internship interview with a top drawer local law firm with whom I had some inside connection. She queried me to determine what exactly was the quid pro quo for getting her the interview.

I understand why she might harbor suspicions about my help -- the "Me Too" movement has revealed some real horror stories, but she essentially blew off the opportunity and ended the mentor/mentee arrangement.

My contact at the university could offer no insight as to what went wrong other than the fact that my mentee had mentioned being uncomfortable being mentored by a man of a certain age who drove a convertible. I muttered an appropriate profanity and thus ended my adventure in mentoring. Apparently I was a peer, age-wise, of her grandpa and that creeped her out.

In my own defense, at no time did I comport myself in an inappropriate manner, so it would appear that only my age caused her to tune me out.

Despite my getting dissed by my mentee, I would recommend mentoring to those willing to lend a hand to a motivated young person. I did became more involved with my alma mater and that was a very good thing.

Wendy: Her loss! So sorry this happened!

Your post really touched me
by: Anonymous

Hi Patricia,
I loved your story about mentoring. I know I could have benefited from mentoring when I was younger. I plan to investigate a way to mentor where I live. I'm at that point in my life to start paying back any way I can. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Kudos to you, Patricia!
by: Wendy, retirement enthusiast

Seriously happy for your post... taking the time to invite a student to the Art Show was brilliant!

You are right -- you didn't go alone and you enhanced this young mans life with this art experience! Imagine being a "kid" and being treated to an adult experience of not only viewing but discussing each piece with another person! So great for him!

Kudos to you! Big Win for this kid!

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