Mentoring is like a waterfall; it's all about the overflow. True mentorship is the extra stuff that happens in life on the periphery of the standard and alters the norm forever.
When I prepare to teach, the lesson is not the study notes from my prep time. The true lesson comes from the experiences I've gained from applying the insight I gained from my study. The overflow represents the personal impact it had on my life and my readiness to share that with others.
For me, the ability to go to that place of vulnerability of sharing when I teach did not just happen. It was through the life of another, who through sharing the overflow of their life with me encouraged me to go to a place of true impact and transformation.
As an example, I present young Todd Jones. He suffered from a stutter so bad that he was held back in school, afraid to speak out in fear of revealing his weakness to his classmates and teachers. One teacher, however, stepped out of the lesson plans and into the overflow.
Knowing young Todd loved to write, high school teacher Mr. Crouch, didn't understand why he was so withdrawn. He soon discovered the stutter and decided to dig a little deeper. He asked the boy why, if he loved words so much, couldn't he speak them? They began to work together a bit, and Todd showed the teacher a poem he'd written. Mr. Crouch challenged him to recite the poem by heart in front of the entire class. There's no way to know just how Mr. Crouch knew it would work. But it did. Todd Jones got through the poem without stuttering a single time. His confidence grew from his own creativity, and it overflowed into all of his life.
A few years later Todd Jones began a career that would call upon his voice quite often. In fact he adopted a working name of James Earl Jones, and became the voice of Darth Vader and Mufasa. If you're like me, when you think of him, you think of that regal voice. You would know it anywhere, because words spoken by him take on a life of their own. They are luxurious. Powerful.
waterfall picture by Witthaya Phonsawat, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net