We have all grown up looking up to people for encouragement, emotional solace, advice and mentorship. For some of us these people have set examples that we tend to follow. Most of them are not direct mentors, just influential people that lived remarkable lives and encouraged us to live beyond our capabilities. A mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often a younger person. A mentee on the other hand is a person who is advised, trained, or counseled by a mentor.
I have grown up looking up to Bishop David Oyedepo for his walk with God, his faith filled life, his outstanding ability to deal with the devil and his agents and his financial buoyancy. I have also looked up to David Beckham for his amazing footballing skills, his charm on and off the pitch, his wonderful parenting skills and his love and care for his wife and family. These two Davids have mentored me from a distance unknowingly. We have such mentors in our lives. My parents have also mentored me while growing up. They have helped mold me to the great man I aspire to be, supported me in time of need, groomed me and charged me to greater heights. They have been my direct mentors (one-on-one mentorship). We have such mentors in our lives also, could be parents, siblings, teachers, older friends etc.
The major function of a mentor is to provide their mentees with an experienced friend who is there to help in any number of situations. I am not here to preach to you on the importance of getting mentors because we all know of its importance.
I am here encouraging and charging you (if you are above 23) to be get mentees and mentor them.
I have lots of girls I mentor in terms of their relationship and sexual status. There is this 22 year old girl in particular that I adore (very respectful and nice girl). We have never met in person but we have always been friends on Blackberry Messenger. Since we met she has always maintained that she was a virgin and had a dream of keeping a virginity till marriage.
She pinged me the other day and told me of her plans to be dis-virgined. She told me that she couldn’t wait any longer because according to her, she was hurting her boyfriend by refusing his sexual advances and she just wanted to taste the forbidden fruit. I asked her 10 questions. The first 5 questions were for her to tell me 5 reasons why she wants to lose her virginity and the last 5 questions were for her to tell me 5 reasons why she shouldn’t lose her virginity. After she answered those questions, it dawned on her that waiting till marriage was and still remains the best option. Imagine if this young girl had no mentor. Let’s just imagine that.
Some of these young people don’t have mentors to confide in. They are not close to their parents, or their senior siblings or senior figures in their lives. These ones get advice most times wrong advice from their immediate friends. It is imperative that everyone of us gets a mentee. Someone younger than you. Someone that you could advice. Someone that looks up to you.
The importance of mentoring a young person includes:
1. Mentors help improve a young person’s self-esteem and self confidence.
2. Decreased likelihood of initiating drug, cigarette and alcohol use.
3. Girls who have mentors are less likely to lose their virginity unwillingly or get pregnant.
4. Youths with mentors are less likely to be involved in crime and cultism.
5. Mentors help improve interpersonal skills of mentees as well as strengthening their communication skills.
6. Mentors help young people set career goals and start taking steps to realize them.
7. Mentors introduce young people to professional resources and organizations they may not know.
8. Mentors can help their mentees learn how to seek and keep jobs.
9. Improved behavior, both at home and at school and also improve performance in school by the evidence of higher grades.
10. Stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers.
The importance of mentorship cannot be overemphasized. These young ones need you and I as mentors. Don’t think its only the Obamas and Mandelas of this world that can mentor someone. Mentor someone today!