Soon after developing a mentoring program in 2003, the mentors I trained would frequently tell me they were getting more from the program - specifically from their mentees - than they were giving. I often treated their comments as overly humble.
The more one-on-one time I spend with my twenty seven year old daughter, the more those mentor comments ring true. When I'm open enough to listen carefully to her, I'm awed, enriched and proud in equal measure. Her insights are frequently spot-on. How many earlier opportunities did I miss not being fully open to people much younger than I? What else besides old-fartism can explain my dismissive posture towards those mentor comments? How often do you fall into the trap of Father/Mother/Any Older Person Knows Best? And when did you last consider the inherent age bias contained in the oft-heard cliche "wise beyond her years"?
No doubt, we're usually wise to heed what experience - and experienced people - teach us. But my daughter has helped me begin to view mentoring as a two way street. I owe her - and the mentors in my program - thanks for helping me see this.