A Great Gift

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Dec 26, 2011 in , , | No Comments

It’s the time of year when people are given gifts. Here’s one gift meant to be cherished.

If you happen to be a fortunate person, then at some point in your life a gift was given that didn’t come from a mall, wrapped in shiny paper, or topped with a bright bow. The gift I’m referring to is one not everybody receives. It also might go unrecognized or unappreciated. It’s a gift one cannot put a value on, but it’s valuable, very valuable.

Not Air Jordans

During the holiday shopping rush, people behaved badly when it came to one particular item–the new Nike Air Jordan shoes. In their eyes, it was the most coveted gift, because they wanted to wear them–or sell them. But shoes wear out and don’t have a long term value. Years from now, those shoes people fought over, and paid a ridiculous price for, will long be forgotten.

However, there is a gift that one person gives to another which never wears out, never loses it’s value. In fact, as time goes on, often, the beneficiaries see how this gift has truly enriched their lives.

Gift of Themselves

People who actively give of themselves give a gift that, (to use the words of a commercial), “keeps on giving”. Mentors are those of whom I speak.

Mentors are interesting people. Some may appear for only a moment. And at other times, remain a special fixture, guiding one for decades. Yet, it’s not the amount of time they give, rather the importance of the information they pass along that matters. The information might be actual words, or more subtle–their actions–how they’ve lived their lives, which makes an impact.

A mentor can be a person who doesn’t even realize they’re mentoring, as in one of our guest posts, Mentee Inspired by Mentors Passion. On the other side of the mentoring spectrum is the mentor who sets out to sprinkle their magic liberally wherever they go, as in the guest post, Good Mentors Give You Rope. Although the stories may be vastly different, the impact these mentors had on the lives of their mentees was life-changing. It always is.

Gifts Given, Gifts Received

Personally, I have my own stories: as a mentor, and as a mentee. As a young adult, I was fortunate to have several wonderful teachers who influenced me in their own ways. One in particular was the mother of a friend, an elementary school teacher, who found out from her daughter my dream of going to college had been destroyed. She sat me down and explained if I wanted to go, she’d pay for my education. I was in shock. After our conversation, I realized someone actually believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself at that point. Her offer was more than a free financial ride to a college education–it gave me the confidence I required to follow my dream–without her financial help. At times, encouragement means more than anything else.

I’ve also been the educator, who by example, influenced a student to become a teacher. Formally, I have been a mentor to two adult women who graduated from a special welfare-to-work type of program. And there were other opportunities given to me to mentor, which I appreciated. I can honestly say, there’s nothing more rewarding than to hear a mentee is living their dream!

If you’ve never had a mentor, are attending college, or are a recent grad, take a moment to visit StudentMentor.org’s home page. It’s time you receive one of the best gifts–the gift of being mentored.