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The Mr Sparkle Chronicles considerable considerations

Mentorship & Paying it Forward

One of the most influential Teachers I’ve ever had taught me that great leaders take every opportunity to help their team grow professionally and personally. I was blessed for having his example. He monitored (and mentored) me constantly, evaluating my performance and providing frequent direct feedback. In doing so, he helped develop the skills I needed to be successful, while instilling confidence and reminding me that in turn I had the same obligation to those who I led. I aspire to be as enthusiastic and affective as he was for me and so many others.

In any craft or trade, historically there has been a tradition of apprenticeship. A young worker (as young as 10yrs) would learn their craft by working (for 7yrs) as assistant to someone well experienced (a master) in the trade. This was a mutually beneficial relationship where the prentice provided inexpensive labor in exchange for training and sometimes even schooling. This notion has been lost largely to a modern drive toward greater and faster production and worker’s rights; industrial and societal revolution. The primary purpose of the increased production was the development of wealth and advancement of mankind’s comforts. An arguably advantageous trade off in my opinion. Today, (in developed nations), we live longer and more comfortably than royalty of the past. That being said, to all things there is a season. And I want to suggest that we have lost a bit of the art of life and joy of mentorship in the pursuit of MORE. I think we can recapture the best parts of apprenticeship without giving up our gains.

It is a true challenge. The tradition of apprenticeship wherever it was practiced, was generally done so in a homogenous society. The values of the community were largely the same. Which reduced the variables and made it easier for the forwarding of technique and values relevant to the craft. Here in the modern melting pot of the United States, there are so many competing values and agendas that this becomes more complicated. Much less, that we are a nation of innovators and individualists who have been brought up to believe in our innate value and equality. “Who are you to tell me?” is in the way of our next step. While it is accepted truth that our essence is equal, to compete as individuals we must accept that others have valuable skills and information for us. And the true teachers and leaders among us are generally quite willing to sacrifice their time and energy for those willing to listen and learn and do.