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Author Topic: Mentors  (Read 4778 times)
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« Reply #15: April 16, 2007, 08:36:57 pm »

As a rule, mentors are not suppose to guide some one who is just coming into the craft into one directed path, unless that person is wanting to learn just one path.

I think there's all sorts of different kinds of mentoring - and that they have many different purposes. (I'm coming at this from three directions right now: a lot of discussion about professional mentoring in my graduate work, and from the perspective of both mentoring others and looking up to people as a mentor as I approach my 3rd degree in my religious life.)

The most important thing in the equation, honestly, is that *both* sides have some kind of agreement about what's involved, and what the goals are.

For some people and some settings, that's "General info about what's out there." At other times, it's guidance with a specific path. At other times, it's mentoring with a specific situation - finding a job in a new field, dealing with a particular kind of situation like starting a coven. Sometimes it's ongoing mentoring within a situation - how you keep going 3 or 5 years down the road, and where you turn for support, ideas, and new methods.

A very few people can do most of these well - and the ones who do tend to invest *incredible* time and energy in maintaining their own skills. Most people tend to cluster within one or two or three types. Even the people who do most of them well tend to do them well because they're well networked, and will use that network frequently for the stuff they're not as up on.

Note that the agreement doesn't always need to be explicit. When someone walks into a Seeker class I'm helping teach, we don't ask them to make explicit statements about what they want from us long-term. We just ask what they hope ot get from the classes. In turn, we don't promise to be long-term mentors - but we do say we expect to offer them general information that will serve them well in further exploration, and that if we can give specific pointers to stuff that's a good fit, great. We're also explicit that part of what we do is talk about how we do things - but only as one among other options.

The other part I think is critical is both sides taking responsibility for what they do. Yes, there are abusive folks out there. New folks shouldn't trust random person when they're learning something brand new without time to get to know them, and other checks and balances. This is true whether we're talking Paganism, any other religion, workplace, school, etc.

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« Reply #16: April 16, 2007, 09:26:10 pm »

For me, a 'mentor' isn't a teacher in a traditonal 'this is how X is done and why' sense. For me, a mentor is a person who can say 'this is my experience, how it's worked for me and what I think of it'. And, in that way, they are showing me ideas that I probably wouldn't have thought of on my own.

Of course, I'm not in any structured path, traditional or otherwise. If you're working in a specific tradition, working with someone familiar with that tradition makes perfect sense- but I still think a 'good mentor' type would work with a person to help them make their own understanding of ideas instead of pushing something on them, even if it is traditional or standard.

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