Mentorship & Fatherhood: Are They the Same?July 16, 2020
By: Carlos J. Avent, M.S.
“Do you think being a father and being a mentor are the same?” I was asked this question while doing an interview about my book, 10 Extraordinary Lessons from an Ordinary Dad. The interviewer just happened to have been a good friend of mine to which he also knew that I had been a mentor for several years now. The question was very intriguing to me because up until that moment, I had never really examined the parallels between mentorship and fatherhood. So immediately following that moment, I looked at the parallels between the two using my own experience and employing some social research.
Let’s take a look…
A mentor is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as a “trusted counselor or guide”. It also defined a mentor as someone who gives “general life advice out of the goodness of his or her heart” and lastly, someone who is “more experienced and knowledgeable [who] teaches and nurtures the development of a less experienced and knowledgeable person”.
The mentor is responsible for developing a relationship with your mentee, modeling effective leadership behaviors for your mentee, counseling, teaching, motivating, and inspiring your mentee. Mentors need to show that they have the ability and availability to commit quality time to the relationship. Most importantly, the mentor should have quality relationship skills like active listening and providing quality and honest feedback.
That’s a pretty good foundation. As we know here at Maryland MENTOR, being a mentor has a strong and positive impact. Now, what about fatherhood?
“When fathers are actively involved with their children, children do better… fathers are important for a child’s development”. This comes from Paul Amato, sociologist and parent-child relationship researcher from Pennsylvania State University. It was also noted that in the differences between the father and mother’s presence, its more about the quality time than the quantity of time for a father’s impact to be effective and beneficial.
As a father, you are responsible for developing a relationship with your child, modeling effective leadership behaviors with your child, counseling, teaching, motivating and inspiring your child. Does that sound familiar? It should because that’s the parallel.
So, here’s what we’ve learned. Whether they’re your mentee or your own child, they still look for you to develop, model, counsel, teach, motivate, and inspire. Mentorship and Fatherhood are the same. Except you can only legally carry one on your taxes as a dependent.
Until next time….
Carlos J. Avent, M.S.
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