When times change, some things that should have been kept in a cycle end up getting tossed to the side to make way for progress. Some things shouldn’t change. Not even 100 years ago the term “Apprentice” was used a lot more in terms of becoming a master at a trade. It’s still around; plumbers, electricians, knife smiths and other labor intensive jobs still rely on the way of growing along someone else. There are steps to becoming a “Master of your domain” if you will.
A mentor is similar to this apprentice / master relationship. An older more experienced individual helps guide a younger, hungry character in the right direction. I have had a few discussions with creatives saying they don’t think this is needed, that older individuals are not keeping up with technology and that it would slow them down as far as progressing goes. My thoughts are just the opposite actually; and I know there is a need for a creative mentor… the problem being is that some traditions were not passed down properly. Older individuals don’t think it’s important to pass on their knowledge and younger people are too cocky to accept help when it’s starting at them in the face.
A mentor isn’t about telling someone how to do something, it is listening and guiding. It’s about growing. In many western cultures we have lost the tradition of passing individuals into adult hood; yet studies have shown that if this practice is done, that child will become more successful, more fulfilled and will be more likely to pass on his knowledge to the next generation. What is so regressive about that? Even the greats learned their basic skills from someone. Da Vinci had Verrocchio… without this relationship we might not have had the “Mona Lisa.”
This is a call out to the 40-60 year old generation to get off your butts and help a young individual out; it’s about helping our society as a whole and passing down your life experience into a generation that needs you – weather they know it or not. This is a call out to the 20-39 year olds stating you don’t know it all, and you need to find someone who knows more than you do. This is a call out to parents to make sure your child knows when they need to grow up and learn the importance of failing; and how it’s not the end of the world if they do. This is a call out for mentors and thanking them for everything they do to nurture the next generation of mentors who will continue to pass the tradition of listening and guiding one persona at a time.
It’s time to water the plants so they can grow.