Sky, now 10, has really shown me the way with homeschooling. When I truly see him and honor his nature, we’re always led deeper into our bliss.
Now that he is transitioning from a little kid into a young man, I am being shown a whole new world of potential in our life learning journey. One powerful lesson that is unfolding before my eyes is the gold mine of mentorship.
With little ones, you are their guide in a more direct and hands on way. With a bigger one, it becomes more about expanding the connection your child has with the world beyond you and your home. This shift is organic as they grow stronger in their passions and reach deeper into wells beyond your scope. Their capability and confidence rises as they expand into spheres beyond your own.
Some might fear distance but autonomy and connection are not mutually exclusive. Our bond is only strengthened as we as parents encourage and provide opportunities for that expansion of their sense of self farther out into the world.
More and more I find myself offering means of self guided exploration in place of simple answers. Where there was once, “Who was this person and what did she do?” There is now, “Will you get this book for me and take me to this exhibit?,” or “Do you know someone who does this?”
One of the most impactful avenues of growth as he ages is mentorship. As he expands our connection to include other guides, he blossoms in so many ways. A mentorship relationship offers a wealth of experience that is special and unique.
A mentor is a person who is passionate about something and willing to share their knowledge with your child through inclusive experience. This person has no agenda of control or outcome and genuinely values your child’s contribution. The collaborative work is useful in the real world. The joyful, interpersonal connection is authentic.
Staple qualities include:
- Contagious Passion
- Deep, Specialized Knowledge
- Meaningful, Relevant Contribution
- Authentic Interpersonal Connection
Mentors are simply people doing something they love well who are willing to invite your child in for a visit into their world.
The nature of the arrangement can be:
- Paid Lessons
- One Time Experiences
- On Going, Casual Relationships
Finding mentors for your child’s interests is often as simple as looking to the people around you. Everyone has a unique view of the world that can add to your child’s paradigm. Who do you choose to surround yourself with? What is their special knowledge? What places and people have you come into contact with in your community that spark an interest in your kid? What resources exist in your community that gather people around your child’s desired topic? What online communities can you tap into for highly specialized subject matter? It could be your neighbor. It might be a family friend. It may very well be a professor in Japan.
Reach out for connection and tap into the communal wisdom around you. As your child grows and matures he needs more than just you to thrive and that is a beautiful thing to witness – to see your child blossom beyond you into their full, authentic self.