You are a mentor and are being mentored every day

What is a mentor? I looked up the word on and found a definition of a mentor that makes perfect sense: A mentor is a “wise and trusted counselor or teacher.”

I found another rather strange definition of a mentor on the Miriam Webster site: Mentor was a “friend of Odysseus entrusted with the education of Odysseus’ son Telemachus”

The name Mentor refers to a man from the Greek classic The Odyssey.  In this story, Mentor is described as “The close companion to whom Odysseus, when he set forth, had entrusted his family, and charged to keep all safe till his return.” The king had “set forth” to fight the Trojan War and left behind his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus.

Since we now use the name Mentor to describe “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher” you could assume that Mentor did a tremendous job in protecting and guiding young Telemachus – Let’s see.

Here is where The Odyssey picks up in a review of the outcome of Mentor’s mentoring: “It had been ten years since the end of the Trojan War and King Odysseus had not been heard of since then, the King was presumed dead. Mentor was one of only a few residents of Ithaca who remained loyal to the King, but he was fighting a losing battle against the common public opinion that the King’s wife Penelope should marry a suitor. Mentor thought she shouldn’t.”

It turns out that the King, while still very much alive, was struggling to return to his kingdom after the war.  In his absence many suitors have taken up residence in the palace under the pretext of marrying the now presumed widowed queen. We find that Mentor’s efforts up to this point were of no use in protecting Penelope or in counseling or teaching Telemachus. No one could stop the suitors from their actions.

Stick with me on this point; remember this is ancient Greek mythology.  On comes Athena, the goddess of war and wisdom.  She gains permission from Zeus to enter Mentor’s body.  Now Mentor (through the wisdom of Athena) gives sage advice and encouragement to Telemachus.

So here is where this all comes together. In your role as a mentor, are you giving advice from wisdom?  In your role of being mentored, are you sure you are getting advice from wisdom?  In both roles, how would you know?

2 Responses to You are a mentor and are being mentored every day
  1. Dr.Rini Sen

    In my opinion mentor must have divinity, intectuallity,strong sense of responsibility and be far away from worldly interest.