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Mentor Resource Area

In the mentoring process, reflection enables us to slow down, rest, and observe our journey and the process of self-knowledge that is so important along the way" (Huang and Lynch, 1995, p.57)

History of the Mentor

The story of Mentor comes from Homer's Odyssey. When King Odysseus of Ithaca went to fight the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of his household to Mentor, who served as teacher and overseer of Odysseus's son, Telemachus.

After the war, Odysseus was condemned to wander for ten years in his attempt to return home. Telemachus, now grown, went in search of his father accompanied by Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and War and patroness of the arts and industry, who assumed the form of Mentor.

Eventually, father and son were reunited and together they cast down would-be usurpers of Odysseus's throne and of Telemachus's birthright. In time, the word Mentor became synonymous with trusted adviser, friend, and teacher. History offers many examples of helpful mentoring relationships--Socrates and Plato, Hayden and Beethoven, Freud and Jung.

History and legend record the deeds of princes and kings, but each of us has a birthright to be all that we can be. Mentors are those special people in our lives who, through their deeds and work, help us to move toward fulfilling that potential.

Source: Gordon F. Shea, Mentoring, A Practical Guide, Crisp Publications, Inc., Menlo Park, California, p.3.

Core Mentoring Skills

For helpful tips from Training and Development, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, please click here.







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