The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The gift that keeps on giving the whole year.”
Anyone who has seen the Holiday Classic, Christmas Vacation, recognizes the significance of the title of this blog. If you have not you can watch the video clip posted at the end. It never gets old….

Here is a great last minute gift idea for anyone who needs one. This is a unique gift that you can both give and receive at the same time. …It costs nothing and can last not just for a month, but forever.

Recently I was given this early Christmas gift. I doubt the person even thought they were giving me anything……
I was paid a compliment by someone who I have become very close with. They told me that they appreciate my friendship and advice and that I was a good ‘Mentor’ for them. The feeling I got from that was as nice a present I have received in a long time, maybe ever. It made me think of all the many ‘Mentors’ I have had in my life and the ones that are now new to it as well. It really is a great gift. Either being a Mentor or being Mentored is something to be treasured. So this week I decided to look into further.
What exactly is a ‘Mentor’?
You know you are on to a good topic when the word you are going to focus on is both a noun and a verb.

1men·tor

noun \ˈmen-ˌtr, -tər\

: someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person

2mentor

transitive verb

: to teach or give advice or guidance to (someone, such as a less experienced person or a child) : to act as a mentor for (someone)

The word comes from the Greek epic poem The Odyssey.
Before Odysseus leaves for the Trojan war, he asks his old friend Mentor to look after his family and his home. When Odysseus returns home twenty years later and needs some divine assistance, the Goddess Athena comes to his aid in the form of that same wise trustworthy man, and offers Odysseus advice and counsel. The idea to which this reliable old friend unwittingly lent his name has been passed on to us in the form that hasn’t changed much since those times. And as Odysseus did, we often find those close to us being our ‘Mentors’.

You can make a conscious decision to become a ‘Mentor’. To sit down with someone and share wisdom, encouragement and experience. That is ‘mentoring’. You can also become a ‘Mentor’ when someone else chooses to learn from you. Both unique, both are forms of ‘mentoring’ and both are special gifts.
People sometimes never even meet their ‘mentors’. They can even be from the past.
That is what is incredible. You can be and also find sources of inspiration and guidance and never have interacted with the other person.
‘Mentoring’ also involves receiving. It is acknowledging that you need help, guidance and instruction as well. That is one of the wonderful things about aging. You begin to realize that you should have been more open to being mentored when you were younger. I know I sure do. And now there is something you can do about it.
You do not have to be perfect to be a ‘Mentor’.
‘Mentoring’ is not just about celebrating your own insight but about sharing wisdom. When you pass on the lessons of your life with someone else, it’s not you who are teaching, but your experience.

‘Mentors’ are not heroes.  A hero is someone you idolize. While a ‘Mentor’ is someone you respect. A hero earns our amazement. A ‘Mentor’ earns our confidence. A hero takes our breath away. A ‘Mentor’ earns our trust. ‘Mentors’ do not seek to create a new person, they simply seek to help a person become a better version of himself.
‘Mentors’ are primarily concerned with teaching. And a teacher is there to inspire.

There are many coaches I played for over the years who are now ‘mentoring’ me and they don’t even realize it.
Over the course of a hockey season so many things happen in practice, during games and yes even away from the rink. Good times. Bad times. Ups. Downs. Challenges. Accomplishments. Setbacks….. It is funny how a hockey season in its’ entirety is much like a microcosm of life. Hockey needs coaches, and life needs ‘Mentors’.
If you look hard, they are all around us.
It is never to late to be ‘mentored’ and you are never too old to be a ‘Mentor’. Never.
The example of Nelson Mandela and his recent passing comes to mind. I read a lot of the features on him and his leadership over the course of the last week and was inspired by things I did not know about him and his life.
That is the thrill of coaching. To give the advice that took a lifetime of going through things and being able to share it.


Some of the greatest coaches of all time have cited some of their ‘mentors’ as people from history not just the world of sport. All sorts of unique and special people from all walks of life. People like Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Winston Churchill, John Kennedy…..etc. And yes, even Clark Griswold……

So I hope this gift idea is one you share with other people and one that you are open to receiving. Give someone the gift of letting them know that they are a ‘Mentor’ to you. It feels great.
Jelly is good too!!!
Happy Holidays!

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