This list was originally developed to help parents mentor their children. The suggestions listed below are equally relevant to mentor relationships with students, employees, and other adults.
• Accept your children unconditionally, just the way they are. Begin with them wherever they are in their development. Remind yourself that they’re “right on schedule!”
• Appreciate their uniqueness. Give them space to go in different directions than you had imagined or desired for them.
• Validate their reality or experience, even if it’s different from yours.
• Enlarge their concept of the world and their understanding of how it works.
• Believe in them. Encourage them with love and faith (instead of threats, demands, or derision) to help them achieve, confront their fears, and go beyond their perceived capabilities.
• Support their need for emotional safety, some of which will come from the love and acceptance you offer, and some of which from the structure and limits you provide.
• Challenge their beliefs to expand their perception of possibilities for themselves.
• Help them through a hard time by being there, by listening, and by having faith in their ability to persevere and overcome adversity.
• Provide an outlet for their feelings without judging, advising, or compromising their sense of safety.
• Help them discover hidden facets of themselves. Widen the frame of their self-perception by seeing them beyond who they are now.
• Inspire an appreciation for new things. Light a fire with your own passion and appreciation for something that you enjoy or value.
• Demonstrate the kinds of behaviors and values you would like them to learn. Model virtues such as self-discipline, fairness, honesty, integrity, and responsibility in your interactions with them and others.
Excerpt from The Parent’s Little Book of Lists: Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Parenting, by Dr. Jane Bluestein, © 1997, Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL.
Click here for information about Mentors, Masters and Mrs. MacGregor: Stories of Teachers Making a Difference (book)
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