3 Myths about Mentorship

Posted by Joanna Williams, Young Adult Resident, on Oct 03, 2021

3 Myths about Mentorship

I wholeheartedly believe mentorship is the biggest value-add we can have in this life. But sadly, mentoring has become a lost art. Many times, it seems that our excuses for not mentoring or being mentored are based on preconceptions or myths that just aren’t true. Dispelling those myths is the first step to realizing the power of mentorships, and of building connections across generations, for each of us.

I’ve had many mentors throughout my 24 years of life. Some were only in my life for a season, and some became my closest friends and stood by me on my wedding day. Some were formal mentors, while some I didn’t even realize were mentors until I unpacked our relationship. While each mentoring relationship has looked different, I am beyond thankful for every person who invested in my life and brought me to where I am today.

Here are three of the biggest myths behind mentoring:

Myth #1: Young adults want a picture-perfect mentor.

Mentoring is like any relationship: it goes both ways. Sometimes we think that the mentor has to fix all of the mentee’s problems. This brings unnecessary pressure on the mentor and unreal expectations for the mentee – often keeping either one from pursuing mentoring.

None of the young adults I’ve worked with have actually looked for perfection from a mentor. Instead, I have heard that young adults want a mentor who will be honest with them, be authentic, and be caring. It’s about working together through life’s challenges; if neither of you know the answer, mentors and mentees can problem-solve together.

Myth #2: You have to stick to a regimented study.

First off, we need some flexibility in our busy schedules. Mentors and mentees should find a time that works for both of them. It doesn’t have to be every week; every other week is a great rhythm.

Secondly, people desire relationships over curriculum. I always say, “Be quick to ditch the study” because any study or curriculum is just a catalyst to growth. It can be an amazing tool to bring y’all together. However, completing a study is not the main point. We are built for growth in the context of relationships, not filling in blanks on a page.

If one of you comes in with something weighing heavy on your hearts, spend some time working through those heart issues. Ask some questions and seek to understand the other’s perspective. It’s all about the process, not just the results. Seek to see God in the little and seemingly mundane things.

Myth #3: You need to become best friends.

This myth is probably the hardest one to wrestle with. You might feel a pressure to become besties, but that isn’t the point of mentorship. You and your mentee/mentor are going to be different and THAT’S GOOD! A mentorship isn’t a cloning program; it’s meant to be a safe place to celebrate uniqueness, where you both can glean from each other’s strengths. Mentoring done right takes both intentionality and understanding.

As a young adult, I believe we need this intergenerational connection now more than ever. There have been more changes in the past 50 years than the last 500, which can easily lead to tension and misunderstanding between age groups. A gap has emerged with the corruption and collapse of what our older generations hold dear, causing heart-breaking division with younger generations.

Personally, there are things that I don’t understand about my own generation, but mentoring has given me unique opportunities to ask questions and learn from a perspective that I may not have naturally. One thing I do know to be true is this: there isn’t anything that you are going through now that someone before you hasn’t already faced. Mentoring is an amazing way for us to share our stories and wisdom with someone who is seeking to understand their own experiences.

At Chase Oaks, we desire to invest in the next generation, as we ourselves grow in faith, hope, and love. Our heart is to create a culture in which each generation invests in the next, where the value for mentoring continues to be passed down—adults mentoring young adults, young adults mentoring college students, and college students mentoring high school students. In this way, not only are we all empowering and investing in the next generation, but we leave behind a legacy that impacts future generations to come.

To find out more about Generation Mentoring and get involved, look here

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