If you can think back to a time when someone made a difference in your life, gave you encouragement and/or a sense of direction, that person was a mentor. It might have been a relative – for me it was my uncle Pete who took the time to just care about and acknowledge me at a time when my father and I disagreed on just about everything. Besides taking the time to care about who I was, Pete taught me how to ride a horse and drive a car on the open fields and dusty back roads of Fresno, California as a 12 year old kid. I never forgot him and often thought about how he was.
After not seeing Pete for many years, one day I decided to go see him; it meant driving from my home in Sonoma County up to Klamath Falls, Oregon where he was living with his daughter, my cousin. He was a frail 90 year old at the time but we both remembered our time together many years ago and how important it was to both of us. Shortly after my visit, Pete died; but I was so glad that I took the time to see him and thank him for how important he was in that 12 year old kids life.
Mentoring takes all forms, from someone who might have taught you something that you didn’t even know you had an interest in. Or like Pete, it might have been someone who just cared enough about you when maybe you were feeling distant and unappreciated by your parents or life in general.
One of the most important aspects of mentoring is the opportunity for us to recall how important and possibly life-changing a mentor was in our lives and for us to do the same for someone else. And it doesn’t have to be when we were kids either; I’ve been, and continue to be mentored by men and women who continue to love on and impact me and shape my beliefs and behavior.
If you can recall someone who’s shaped and influenced your life then that means there’s an implied responsibility for you to “pay it forward.” I hope that we have the opportunity to do that through the SCAA Mentoring Committee as we grow and develop.
Bert Botta, Writer SCAA