Mentoring Grows Us

Build Radical Resilience With Me. March 13, 2023

Image Credit: Annie Spratt

Archery was my first skill to be developed. My cousins who lived 6 houses down the street all shot archery. When I was 8 I did piles of dishes to earn money to buy a bow. It was a great goal and I worked hard for it.

Once I had my bow, I worked with my Uncle Lester to make my own arrows to use. He was quite a good mentor. Patient and attentive, he let me help. I learned a lot about the arrow points, painting choices and attaching the fletching feathers. I got to choose my feather and paint colors. Once I had my arrows I could practice with my uncle and the boys in the back yard shooting into a bale of straw with a target on it.

Image Credit: Christian Thomas

Then it was off to the archery range. There were varying distances on the range which required an entirely different skill, including understanding the impact of wind and distance had on reaching the target. I grew from this mentoring, both in knowledge and skill.

I view mentoring as choosing to learn from someone who is farther down the path than us in some way. It might be a skill, a way of being, or a particular quality they have that we don’t yet have. They might agree to mentor us, or they might not even know us if it is mentoring from a distance. Co-mentoring is when we learn from each other and spur each of us to grow. It is a thrilling and fulfilling experience.

Image Credit: Kevin Wolf

My next memorable mentor was my music teacher in high school. Faith Reigle taught me many things about singing, accompanying choral groups, composers, different types of music, and a deep appreciation of the joy of listening to and making music. She also taught me that it was possible to be a woman who could balance having a career with having a family. This growth launched me to consider college as a viable choice. Up until this time no one in my immediate family had gone to college. It was an important decision that would effect the rest of my life.

Image credit: David Beale

These early decisions to be mentored by someone sealed my commitment to the process. If we choose wisely, we can grow in leaps and bounds by noticing, attending to, and understanding what others do and how they do it. I believe we all need a coach! (Many throughout our lifetime!) We benefit from being discriminating in that choice. There are three important parts of this learning for me. I want someone who knows more about something than me.

1. I want to know what they know.

2. I want to know why they do what they do, and

3. I want to know how they do what they do.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Are you hitting the targets you set for yourself? Would a new mentor nudge you a little further along the path?


6 responses to “Mentoring Grows Us”

  1. Oh wow Kathryn, this is truly an insightful and empowering message. We need more mentors and perhaps we will witness better choices and positive changes by influencing others who need it. I agree with you when you said, “Mentors might agree to mentor us, or they might not even know us if it is mentoring from a distance.”

    This is one reason why I try to present myself in a decent way. You never know who is watching you, but they are learning from you simply from observation. Thanks so much for presenting such a vital element of our society and our world. Enjoy the rest of your day my friend and have a FANtabulous week! 🥰🦋😘💖🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you. My first thought, is the bow used to kill animals after learning target practice ? Teaching children to fish at a young age is also troublesome. Teach them to kill when they are young ;-(


  3. Many thanks Kym. I know you are a mentor for many. I’ve read it in the comments on your posts. And, that is just one slice of your life. Keep on being exemplary!


  4. Katey, Thank you for your comments. I never used my bow and arrows to kill animals. It is an extremely difficult thing to do, I’m told. (It doesn’t happen that often.) I see it differently than teaching children to kill. I was taught a host of lessons by practicing archery. I learned, patience, focus, discipline, and how to practice a skill requiring strength and muscle coordination. Much like the olympic sport of archery, it was about learning how to grow a skill to proficiency. I am less interested in the competitive side of the sport. (Seeing which archer is the best at target shooting. Not why I did it. Growing myself was the focus.)


  5. Wonderful! This made me remember my primary school teacher who mentored me unknowingly in nature, love of birds and trees and plants and wildlife. It was her passion and her knowledge that made me want to know more. In the past couple of decades I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible mentors such as yourself. Thank you for your gifts in this world

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, Marie, aren’t those a-has about early mentors just the best! And, of course because we are dedicated to life long learning their are many mentors who come after. In our co-mentoring experience I learned a lot! So grateful.


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