MENTOR: someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person. One who has a willingness to share skills, knowledge and expertise.
My brother and I recently engaged in a discussion about the benefits of having mentors in our own lives growing up and their value in the lives of our children.
We have 6 kids between my brother and I. All teenagers. Yes, you can imagine the fun, drama and sleepless nights including the bubble over our heads, "how did these years fly by so quickly?"
There are huge pressures that our children are facing nowadays. Huge pressures to make big decisions. The competition constantly surrounding them is fierce and standards are increasingly high. We need to uphold them and seek out positive mentors for our children to help support and offer guidance.
A Mentor can be
a family member,
a coach, a youth leader,
or a music lesson teacher.
A few years ago I received a phone call from the mom of one of my students. She said, "Rachel, we send our daughter to you to be a positive mentor in her life, not necessarily for music lessons. If she learns some music along the way,that's great."
At first I was deeply offended. But after I started having children I TOTALLY get what she's talking about.
At this year's dance and music recitals - it was so special seeing all the Nonos and Nonas supporting their grandchildren. There were Aunts and Uncles, even neighbours. It takes a village. They are instrumental in encouraging students to keep on going and cheering them on in their efforts. They increase motivation.
Recently I overheard my one son asking dating advice from his grandma. That was an interesting conversation!
I personally have a mentor- she's my 96-year-old neighbour who is one of my best friends. She has lived "through it all" and I glean many nuggets of guidance from her. I also have a business guide who's my "go to" for that extra support when necessary. In the spirit of giving back, I poor myself into recent graduates finding their way and planning for their future. There's almost nothing as rewarding.
My children have a strong connection to our church youth group. The leaders there take time to "check in" to see how the kids are doing in their personal lives/in school. They talk about peer pressure and have to questions about God/life. These discussions are invaluable in my opinion. It's someone other than mom and dad who care for them.
When my eldest returns home on weekends from University (laundry in tow) one of the first thing he does is text "Luke"...his old guitar lesson teacher.
For those families who have been with us for a while, they would remember Luke - we are going back QUITE a few years. My son and Luke will go for coffee and that relationship that was forged many years ago when my son was 6 years old has blossomed over years of music and guitar lessons into an important relationship that will last a lifetime.
My husband, Anthony and I are so thankful for the investment key people have made in our childrens' lives.
As a parent-any positive influence in my teenagers life is golden-an invaluable tool in raising our children.
We talk a lot about music, education, work ethic, character building etc. At the end of the day right up there on the list of "good" for children is the value of positive mentors.
I will continue to invite the grandmas and grandpa over for dinner, continue to drive my children to the youth group and continue to encourage relationships that provide a positive role model in my childrens' lives.
A bit about Rachel and Anthony…
Rachel got her degree in music, then her teaching certificate right after we married. She taught in the public school system as both a certified core teacher and music teacher before we started growing our young family.
In the early years I played my sax when I wasn’t busy with my career working at IBM and then later in IT at the banks.
While our three children were young I finished my MBA. I left the corporate world in my 40’s to pursue my love for music to grow the family business that Rachel started. I got a chance to co-author my first book about our music business, family and life…it was published in 2015