McKean Minute: Mentoring 101 – Simple answers to complicated questions

Mentoring is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, like raising a foster child. And it’s the easiest thing you’ve ever done, like joking with your buddy.

I’ve heard both those analogies used to describe mentoring, but both seem to add an unrealistic weight of expectation to the experience.

As I’ve written in this space in the past, mentoring is a handmade thing, crafted between the participants. In that way, no two relationships are the same. But they do have some commonalities, and the relationship between a mentor and a mentee (note – the entire community of folks committed to this effort is struggling with how to describe the apprentice hunter. Is “mentee” really the best word? If you have a better alternative, would you let me know?) generally starts with some questions. Continue reading McKean Minute: Mentoring 101 – Simple answers to complicated questions

McKean Minute: When Mentoring, Any Amount Will Do

We talked a couple weeks ago that one of the main attributes of being a mentor is simply showing up, being available to someone who has questions and needs guidance.

The second great attribute is to give that guidance in any amount. Many of us get intimidated by the idea that in order to be a good teacher, we need to give all of ourselves. While some of us have a bottomless reservoir of outreach, most of us simply don’t have the time, energy, or enthusiasm to answer every question that comes around or to be available around the clock. Continue reading McKean Minute: When Mentoring, Any Amount Will Do

Take Him

If you give a boy a NERF gun, he will want to shoot it.
You’ll buy him the coolest NERF gun you can find, and then he will probably want some extra bullets and another gun, too.
Then, he will probably start asking you to set up his toy animals to shoot, or to play war with he and his friends. And even though you want to sit on the couch and watch the Cubs, he will insist, and his insistence will win.

McKean Minute: Make a Difference – Show Up

I coach middle school cross country. Most weekdays from late August through mid-October, I drop whatever it is I’m doing, lace up my running shoes, put a whistle around my neck, and encourage three dozen awkward, gangly kids who are not my own to run (and, some days, to simply walk) with purpose.

Most autumn weekends, I get on a yellow school bus and accompany the team to a race somewhere in my windy corner of northeastern Montana. Continue reading McKean Minute: Make a Difference – Show Up