Sometimes you have an idea and you feel it’s just right, it’s the way out. That’s how I feel about mentoring. It is something very close to my heart so much that I feel it is the fastest way out of the social, industrial and educational backwardness we find ourselves in. This is basically a relationship between two people, one helping with the development of another as a person, educationally, professionally or with any skill he is endowed with. The Mentor gives a younger or less experienced person help and advice over a period of time especially at work or at school or at home. To mentor, you just make the effort and put it in your mind that you are going to help this person develop to the peak of his capability and by the time you succeed time and time again you soon begin to feel its impact all around you. Mentoring not only garners more respect for you, you are happier for it because there’s always joy in giving. For me this is humanity, this is giving back to community. You become his or her support base. You build a relationship that may last forever and somewhere, someday, someone will say because of you I didn’t give up.
Dreams have died, efforts lost, children gone astray for lack of guidance, just because one link was missing, one door was locked. As a mentor, you may well be the missing link and the key to the door that may change someones’ life forever.
I am someone brought up with the notion that what you give is what is yours. Based on the Islamic teachings one is rewarded according to one's actions and that is saved for one's final abode in the hereafter. Consider mentoring as an act of kindness and with this act of kindness you not only gain the reward of helping this person but you also impact on him such that he is also willing to impact on another.
Like a tree, once you have sowed it you don’t know the number of people who would benefit from it. Mentoring is not only about a younger person, it can even be a peer who is less experienced or in need of help. The smallest act of kindness can change someones’ life. This kindness may come in many forms and we all need them at several points in our lives, a push, some words of encouragement, corrections, pointers, a shoulder to lean on, financially, educationally or in form of an ear to just listen when we get emotional. It’s all about being there for someone at his time of need. This is what a mentor does. We really have got to encourage this and you’ll be surprised what impact this can make to the society. Giving is medicine for the soul, when you give it’s not only the receiver that becomes happy. The happiness on the face of the receiver, the sigh of relief, his appreciation, the positive change in his life gladdens the heart of the giver too and works wonders psychologically for the mentor. You do not loose when you give. Remember the hand that gives, is always above the one that receives.
Suicide is on the rise in Nigeria today and you never know when your kind word, a listening ear can help save a life. When things are well with us we sometimes forget to check with our brothers and sisters to find out if they need us, but with a little probing, you may find someone who is broken hearted, who you can just help up. Sometimes what someone desperately needs maybe something you don’t even need, for his many problems, those chocking him, those making him feel hopeless he may just need someone to view them from another perspective and they are problems no more. Let’s be proactive, we don’t have to wait for something sad to happen before we act.
Depending on circumstances, mentoring can even be extended through a group effort and everyone including the mentor gains from the different views and perspectives of the people in the group. It’s a relationship that builds communication skills of the mentor and the mentee as they interact, and it’s natural that people have a good/happy relationship with anyone they have good communication with. Thus learning in such an atmosphere becomes easy. Mentoring builds the leadership skill of the mentor by creating a sense of responsibility in him as he strives to see his mentee excel. This determination is also what pushes the Mentee who wouldn’t want to fail his mentor to work harder as he gains valuable knowledge, advice and help that would advance his career or impact his life positively.
Recently at the Bayero University, Chubbi Interiors and Impact Nigeria organized a forum where young professionals came together to discuss, enlighten and encourage successful individuals on mentoring. I was very happy and quite impressed. But more encouraging was the good news that right there and then these professionals agreed to mentor quite a number of the young school girls invited for the occasion.
Mentoring is used all over the world to build staff capacity and to develop their careers. Here we can make it personal, make it an integral part of the society. It is about being your brothers’ keeper. For mentoring to succeed, start from your area of expertise where you are confident and can build the confidence of your mentee. Be a role model, let there be trust in the relationship, support and encourage your mentee and put a time limit so you both can strive to achieve your set goal in good time. Mentoring can be organized in our neighborhood where we live, where we know each other personally and know the needs of one another and what can help or make them better individuals, or in our mosques, where we meet five times daily. Let’s make use of one another.
Mothers for whom all chicks have left the nest can spare themselves the boredom of a less busy life by mentoring, counseling and sharing their knowledge. Our retirees who believe they can still contribute to society can volunteer their services. Let’s do it for the almajiri boys, the disabled amongst us and this may well be the fastest way to make them useful to society. Allah loves the friendly giver and in the end it’s a win-win situation where we all gain physically and spiritually.
Imagine if it becomes a chain, you mentor a person today and he mentors another and so on. A mentee becomes a mentor. You’ll definitely have a sense of personal satisfaction when you see your mentee succeed. It is said when Allah raises your standard of living you should also raise your standard of giving. So go on, mentor someone today, make someone’s life easier, guide someone, help him stay focused and on track in his studies or career, help with scholarships. But even when he hasn’t, just go ahead and ‘HELP!’ one another that’s all this piece is all about.
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