The Modeling of Mentoring

This is somewhat of an unusual post but it has been an unusual couple of weeks. On February 27, just a week and a half ago, my dad passed away suddenly at the age of 70. And as when a death occurs, it is during those times that we seem to be most reflective about life as well as people and their influence.Dad and Son

As I think about my dad and his relationship to me as his son, one overarching word comes to mind: mentor. If you go back to times of Greek mythology, you will find that the word “mentor” is found in Homer’s Odyssey. Odysseus, who is king of Ithaca, goes off to fight in the Trojan War. In his stead he leaves his trustworthy friend, Mentor, who is given the charge to look after the king’s son, Telemachus. Mentor serves as both teacher and overseer to the young boy. He was an experienced and trusted adviser.

As I think of my own dad, that is one of the lasting memories that is etched on my mind. My dad gave his all to make sure I knew about God, knew His truth, and knew how to practice it in daily living. He wanted to make sure I was equipped to live life well. He taught me and then helped me walk through my own valleys, even into adulthood. And in his parting from this world, he left behind many of his own thoughts both in my memory and on paper about how to successfully navigate this life…wisdom.

For these things I am grateful and believe them to be much of the reason why I have a desire to mentor my own students in and out of the classroom. As educators, our kids are looking for authentic lives to pattern themselves after. They are looking for a compass or someone to be that north star.

Tim Elmore has some helpful thoughts about this idea of mentoring. He speaks not only about being a mentor, but more importantly, being a life-giving mentor. I like that. Offering more than just information. Fostering both growth and life.

Elmore gives some attributes of a mentor that would be worth our time pondering for our own unique touches in the classroom experience:

  • Paint pictures using images, metaphors, and stories to solidify a principle.
  • Give “handles” to the conveyed truth so that it can be owned.
  • Offer “roadmaps” by speaking intentionally into the lives of students and getting them to see the bigger picture.
  • Provide “laboratories” for your mentees to practice the truth that you have given to them.
  • Furnish “roots” by helping your mentee create and live by core values that teach character-based decisions as opposed to emotion-based decisions.
  • Provide “wings” by offering your mentees encouragement and empowering their goals and desires.

Now that my Dad has passed from this earth, I am made more aware of his mentoring influence on me…and am grateful. I want to pass that torch on to my students. Thanks, Dad, for a job well done.

In memory of my father, mentor, and friend, Antone H. Goyak, August 13, 1943 – February 27, 2014.


2 thoughts on “The Modeling of Mentoring

  1. Great article and honoring your dad is a blessing. Praying for you as you adjust to the loss.Only the Lord can give you grace at this time. Love Mom


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