Mentoring and a Bit of Greek Mythology

In Greek mythologyMentor (GreekΜέντωρ / Méntōr; gen.: Μέντορος)[1] was the son of Alcimus or Anchialus or Heraclesand Asopis. In his old age Mentor was a friend of Odysseus who placed Mentor and Odysseus’ foster-brother Eumaeus in charge of his son Telemachus, and of Odysseus’ palace, when Odysseus left for the Trojan War.

When Athena visited Telemachus she took the disguise of Mentor to hide herself from the suitors of Telemachus’ motherPenelope.[2] As Mentor, the goddess encouraged Telemachus to stand up against the suitors and go abroad to find out what happened to his father. When Odysseus returned to Ithaca, Athena appeared briefly in the form of Mentor again at Odysseus’ palace.

Because of Mentor’s relationship with Telemachus, and the disguised Athena’s encouragement and practical plans for dealing personal dilemmas, the personal name Mentor has been adopted in English as a term meaning someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague.  {Taken straight from Wikipedia}

Every once in awhile I get hit smack dab in the head with something that takes me by surprise.  It happens more than I care to admit.  People amaze me.  Things that people say and believe amaze me.  Things that people do amaze me.  I find a lot to be amazed about on a daily basis and perhaps that is why my tagline for my blog is “Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary”.  I like to think that I strive to see the best in everyone and in each situation.  But if I am honest I fall short quite often in that area—–like today when I came home grumbling about the people who were driving 10 mph through our subdivision stopping at every cross street even though there were no stop signs.   I did not find that couple amazing today in the least bit.

I posted a quote on Facebook the other day by one of my favorite religious authors—Oswald Chambers.  If you don’t know of him he wrote an amazing (Yes–there is that word again) book entitled My Utmost for His Highest.  It is  a collection of readings for the year that I never tire of reading. Each time I find another little nugget that I missed the year before.  There is even a “modern” version for those of us who have to have it broken down into more common every day language.

Funny thing was that someone reposted my quote yesterday as their status and said that their “mentor” had posted it and that she wanted to share it.  WHAT?  There must be some mistake.  I am no mentor, folks.  I quickly responded that she must be mistaken but that it was a pretty neat quote and she responded back that I had no idea the impact I had had on her in college.  She was a few years behind me and for some unknown reason to me she kind of looked up to me.  Again I say WHAT?

It got me to thinking about how the smallest little things that folks do on a daily basis are viewed by others and the impact that they may have.  I am not in a professional job right now (unless you call writing for the masses here a professional job) and I think my impact on others is pretty darn minimal.  My husband tells me that I underestimate my reach.  Well, I don’t know about that but when my college friend called me mentor it made me step back and look at the areas of my life that I need to step up my game in.  There are many.  I am far from perfect. Ask my mom—my favorite response to her as a teenager was “Well, no one’s perfect!”  Trust me, she will verify that in the comments below later when she reads this!

So what do you think?  Like the picture of the stones at the top of this post we are are different and have many different aspects to our personalities.  Is it time to embrace that ?   Have you been a mentor to someone along the way?  Did you know it at the time?  Did you intentionally seek to do it?  Or did it just happen?  I think there must be opportunities all around us and some we take and some we don’t.   I would love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to leave a comment!!!



  1. Thanks for sharing the Greek mythology, Beth Ann. That was interesting. I guess I can relate best to your comment, “I am not in a professional job right now (unless you call writing for the masses here a professional job) and I think my impact on others is pretty darn minimal.” But I also think that is usually pretty okay with me.

    I used to have aspirations of fame when I was a younger person, but realism won. Now I just want to treat people well, and be happy.

    • I love that you wrote it is usually pretty okay with you —I agree. I never really thought about being famous—my chosen profession of Mom does not usually tend to bring fame and fortune and it is by far the best gig I could have ever had. And I love your goal to treat people well and be happy. More should have that as a goal!!! Thanks!!!

  2. So much to consider in this thought-provoking post. I think we can make an impact on others, sort of by default or purposely. It takes effort, of course, to choose the purposely option. I strive, mostly with young people, to encourage. It’s something as simple as a word of sincere praise or a note dropped in the mail or listening, really listening.

    Your husband is right in saying that you should not underestimate the power of your words written here. It matters not whether you are a professional working woman. What matters is that you are happy and living your life in a way that is God-pleasing. And you are, Beth Ann. I am not at all surprised that someone would consider you their mentor.

    • Audrey—I just knew that one of your spiritual gifts was that of encouragement!!! Me, too! And it is so appreciated!!! I believe that sometimes with the electronic world we have kind of lost that a bit and that is why I am such a note writer and card sender!!!! We have much in common and I keep finding out more we have in common. I am content with my life—very content. It took me long enough to realize that I was a person of worth and now that I have finally realized that I have a peace about who I am and what God’s purpose for me is in life. I won’t ever change the world or be famous in the terms of the world but I will treat people kindly and show God’s love every chance I can. Thanks for the sweet words—-the mentor comment just kind of made me laugh because I am just me—never really thought of myself that way! 🙂 Now I had better be careful, huh???

  3. Every interaction in life is an opportunity to learn and to teach.
    A smile from the clerk at the grocery store.. a smile TO the clerk at the grocery store…… simple, often thoughtless interactions that impact us profoundly all along the way.

  4. Beth Ann – You never cease to amaze me with your thoughtfulness both in writing and in the things you have done for me. You have had a great impact on my life and for that I am grateful. Love your post and love you!

    • Oh Diane—you are so sweet! It just hit me when this friend said that that I am usually so clueless about that kind of stuff. Clueless about a lot of life but especially that my words could mean something to someone. Was not looking for a pat on the back at all—it was just one of those Ah Ha moments! 🙂

  5. We never know when, where, or with whom we may leave an impression. What one considers a simple little thing could be a huge thing to someone else. I think it is wonderful this person noted you as her mentor. How wonderful for you to ‘hear’ it. Lovely.

    • Lenore–we don’t know, do we, where or when we leave impressions? Words can be so uplifting or so destructive and it makes me think more about what I say or what I write!

  6. That is something I have learned being in education. A person will find someone to look up to and it is such a wide range of how they knew that person. Such a great and different feeling!

  7. What an amazing post. First of all, I can totally see how you would be a mentor to someone and how people look up to you. Just your kindness alone would be enough… Hubby and I have taken one or the other person under our wing and tried to help and steer them in the “right” direction. I never looked at it as being a mentor but just doing the right thing. Yet, when people tell me that one thing or another I did or do is something they strive for I guess you could say I was a mentor in a way!

    • Yes, exactly! You were and are!!! It is funny how I never ever thought about it that way before but I guess when you “do the right thing” as you stated so well it is a form of mentoring!!! Who knew???

  8. Helen Brown says:

    I especially enjoyed reading your blog today. I agree we can be mentors to others and not know it. That is why I always try to do the right thing because I know that not only God, but others are watching me and I want to be the best person I possibly can be.

  9. In my attempt to be a good example for my daughter & the daughter of my heart (my last boyfriend’s youngest daughter),she apparently was watching me & learning how to be a good parent. Since she had no other positive role models, she learned how to parent from me. She is an awesome mother now through a failed marriage & beyond. I’m just glad I could be there for her.

    • I am glad you were there for her, too! You just really never know, do you??? What a positive thing you were in her life and now in the life of her babies!!!

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