Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Parenting & mentoring parallels

I was asked what my philosophies on raising a kid were like. After I tossed the out the requisite jokes:
  • Say loudly in public spaces when out with your kid: "Well, that's a quarter I owe your therapy jar!"
  • Wave his unmentionables out the window when driving along a street where his friends live
  • Stick to his childhood nickname even when he politely requests you use his real name
  • Show pictures of him at 3 years of age, dressed (or not), to all potential girlfriends
and (my favourite)
  • Immortalize his toilet training in your writing

I realized that, despite my best efforts to be on Child Services "most watched" list, my kid had taught me a lot about mentoring by not moving out at a tender age (or any age yet...).

  • Parenting and mentoring are a mix of working through one's own issues and stories.
    • What's a good story; a lesson to share; a moment I would repeat; an action I would change?
  • A parent and a mentor must decide what kind of leadership and guidance style they believe in.
    • Believe in and be willing to walk the talk. Good parenting is living and breathing a life philosophy even when it hurts. Mentoring gives the mentor a few extra breaths to take a break but mentors are still role models and eyes are often watching.
  • Good parents and mentors ask:
    • What do I stand for?
    • What practices and beliefs do I want to embody?
    • What does that mean day-to-day?
  • We cannot parent or mentor effectively when tired, angry or sad. But we often do.
    • A great parent or mentor walks their talk inspite of personal circumstance - not hiding thoughts and feelings but  being consistent in approach regardless and transparent in how to cope (or not).
We can't change how we were parented. We can change how we parent... and mentor...and the behaviours we request of our parents and mentors as our own self-awareness grows.

I hope my skills have evolved with my philosophy... I'm sure my mentorees and my kid will let me know...

1 comment:

JS said...

"Immortalize his toilet training in your writing."

Amazing. The toilet training was a perfect mentoring opportunity that failed completely because I wasn't mentoring. I was telling. I was controlling. I was demanding.

I had another kid so I actually learned and did it properly the next time. Lots of coaching. Lots of cheerleading. Lots of patience to let it work itself out. Ironically, it took less time, too!

We get better at mentoring & coaching in the workplace with each new encounter. Practice makes perfect ...