by Mark Weber, M.Photog.Cr, M.Artist, CPP
It’s getting closer to that time of year when you start planning holiday get-togethers and spending time with the people you love. You might even watch some sports or turn on one of my all time favorite movies – It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s become a tradition to watch that movie while my daughter Kelly and I decorate the Christmas tree.
If you haven’t seen the movie, drop what you’re doing and go buy it right now. Watch it tonight! For those of you that have seen it, you will agree that George Bailey was a beautiful friend to all. He represented what was right in the world and after a presentation I saw this week at Marathon, I guess I would have to say he was also a Mentor.
Mentors. We all have one or would like to have one. Many of us, as photographers, can name a few of our favorite mentors who influenced us greatly as we developed our skills early on. Someone who changed the course of our photography for the better and someone who influenced us and made us the person we are today.
Why am I talking about mentors? We recently had a vist here at Marathon from none other than Dr. Tom Osborne, former football coach for the University of Nebraska. Dr. Tom started a mentoring program in 1991 called TeamMates. The goal behind the program is to provide young people support, friendship and a positive example. TeamMates Mentors want to help young people reach their full potential.
Dr.Tom spoke about the people in his life who influenced him greatly. People like his grandfather and father, who had provided meaningful advice and listened to his thoughts and concerns growing up. He shared that, “In life you can earn money, and buy and own things, but when you leave this earth, those things go away. However, when you mentor someone, the impact gets passed down through generations. It effects people for a life and often continues to influence future generations”.
TeamMates recognizes that young people need guidance in setting and achieving their goals. Statistics show that young people with mentors have greater engagement with their school. Their peer and parent relationships improve and resistance to the pressures of drug and alcohol use. Students increase their grades, attendance and behavior, and most importantly, their sense of hope. Here is the link find out more – http://teammates.org.
The greatest gift you can give people is your time. Time to just talk and provide encouragement. It doesn’t take that much time, with TeamMates it’s just an hour a week. We often get so hung up on gifts being something materialistic, that we forget that the greatest memories are those that involve something as simple as a friendly conversation. Maybe that’s why we get together at the holidays?
So, what are you doing to be a mentor in someone’s life? As a parent, you are already a mentor, it’s built in. Maybe your kids are older now and you have the ability and desire to help someone needing a role model? What about in our industry? Mentoring other new photographers? Do you have time to do more, be more? I think George Bailey would have found the time.