A Little Bit Like My Dad

My father is a great teacher. Growing up I loved learning from him, watching him prepare, and most of all watching him teach. The lessons I learned from him made a big difference as I went to college and started to have some teaching and presentation oportunities of my own. After graduation I even taught for a few years before moving on into another field.

During this school year I’ve been a volunteer teacher for a class my oldest son attends. My father is the supervisor for the program. I get to have monthly teacher training meetings with him as well as quarterly group training. While I’m the one in the classroom teaching, his influence is in just about everything I do. He taught me how to ask questions, tell jokes, pace a lesson, break the ice, build rapport, and so many others.

This evening I watch three of my students chatting together after an activity. Over the last eight months I’ve seen my little class of 15 years olds grow and mature and become wonderful young men and women. They tease me when my jokes don’t land, groan when I call on them to answer questions, roll their eyes at my funny quirks. It’s probably one of the greatest experiences I’ve had outside of the experiences I’ve had with my own kids.

And through it all I think of my father. Of the hundreds and thousands of students he has had these types of experiences with. Of the teachers he has trained, helped, and shaped with his skills and deep empathy. If not for my dad I would never have had this amazing year with my little class.

I hope I get to volunteer again next year.

Gratitude for Mentors is Repaid through Mentoring Others

One of the delightful surprises of my career has been mentors. I’m grateful that people have reached out and taken an interest in me. If life lessons only came through our own mistakes we would be miserable. Having a mentor to listen, give suggestions, and encourage based on their life experience is priceless.

Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.
John C. Crosby

I have been thinking about how to thank these people. I can’t afford gold watches.😉 I think the best thank you is to “pay it forward” through mentoring others.

A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.

Here are my invitations to you:

  • Remember the mentors and teachers who have changed your life. If appropriate, reach out to thank them.
  • Decide how you can become a mentor to someone in your circle of influence.

This doesn’t have to be formal. Look around for someone who has potential and can benefit from the things you have learned and the people you know. Make a plan to start sharing those things.

Your mentors likely had mentors of their own they told you about. One of the greatest gifts I was given through a mentor was an introduction to the writing of his mentor.

The best way a mentor can prepare another leader is to expose him or her to other great people.
John C. Maxwell

Thank you for that and everything else CS.