There are many reasons to have a mentor, but there are also many reasons to become a mentor. Perhaps you have a cache of information, knowledge, or skills to share with others. Maybe you also care about the future of our youth and want to be more involved with making their futures a little better. Being a mentor can be a wonderful and rewarding experience for you and for your mentee. If you have ever considered it, I hope my list of nine reasons to become a mentor will help you decide.
One of the best reasons to become a mentor is helping your mentee build positive self-esteem. Many young people do not have a positive support system around them. Perhaps they a sad home life, are being bullied in school, or earn disappointing grades. Whatever the case may be, helping someone improve their self-esteem is an important step in the process towards a better future of healthy outcomes.
2. Academic Success
If your mentee is suffering academically you can help find the learning resources they need to improve. Your educational experiences, tips, and suggestions will be invaluable for achieving academic success. Your real world experience with organization and time management are also critical lessons for your mentee. The little things that got you through study sessions and exams are valuable nuggets. Share them.
3. College Preparedness
Learning to navigate grade school and high school can be intimidating enough. Transitioning to college presents you with a new set of challenges. As a mentor you can help a young person navigate this process. There is much to be said about experience, including experience with practical skills such as finding affordable lunch on campus and saving money on books. Academic success is achieved in more ways than just studying for exams.
4. Career Path
Some people are career mentors while others are mentors in their spare time. In either case, you have great information to share with your mentor about your life experiences. This includes your decision making process for choosing a career. The pressure to choose a career can be a little intimidating. You can help your mentee begin to navigate this topic while understanding that their options are endless! Help them discover their passion and learn how to connect it with a career.
5. Reduce Juvenile Crime
As a mentor you donate large amounts of your personal time to aid in the personal improvement of children in various areas. Studies have shown that children who engage a mentoring program are less likely to engage in crime and criminal activity.
6. Workforce Preparedness
Were you prepared for the workforce when you got your first job? Maybe, maybe not. Either way you have likely learned a thing or two about the workforce that someone else can benefit from for their own preparation. Things like finding job announcements, transportation, time management, communication, interviewing, office cooperation, interpersonal skills, and courtesy are little things we can all stand to brush up on from time to time. They are also invaluable lessons and insight for someone new to the workplace.
7. Strengthen Your Community
Showing a young person that you care and are interested in their health and success will not only help them achieve their goals but it will also demonstrate the importance of investing in the future. While most mentees are 5-19 years old, mentees come in all ages. The lessons you teach each other through your mentoring relationship can catch on within your area and help improve community involvement and strengthening community investment.
8. Self Improvement
Being a mentor can help make you a wiser person. Your mentee will pose questions and scenarios that you may not have thought of previously. This exchange will help you learn a little more about the world but in a different way. It may also require you to research a topic for additional clarification to share with your mentee. You will learn from your mentee as much as they learn from you. You will also sharpen your mind and articulate your point of view a little better in the process.
9. Parental Preparation
Recently, I read a fantastic short summary of parenthood. It described being a parent in three phases: “dictator, teacher, mentor.” While this is meant for parents, I think it can also apply to extended relatives. When our children are older they will benefit from the mentor phase of parenthood. Being a mentor now, can help prepare you for that role in the future.
Many people of all ages (myself included) have a mentor and have been a mentor. You do not need to be super smart or extremely wise. You must have time, a caring heart, listen well, and share your own experiences. Have you thought about being a mentor? Do you have a mentor? I'd love to hear about your experience. Please, share.