LET US ACKNOWLEDGE our encouragers. We are blessed if we have friends who love us with open arms, who suffer our going wherever we must-in short, friends who have the mentor’s spirit. Willingly they leave us at what CS Lewis called the World’s End, if that is our heart’s desire. Somehow these encouragers influence us toward our own, distinctive life.
We seem to need mentors-wise and faithful guides, advisers, or teachers-the wisdom keepers of an entire family, a sprawling corporation, of a community. Much more, we need the mentor’s spirit: an unseen, affirming influence and positive energy. The mentor’s spirit is the healthy relationships in every family, classroom. organization, and town. It exists between productive managers and subordinates and resourceful leaders and their constituents. When the mentor’s spirit is absent, we find dependency, an erosion of optimism, and impaired problem solving. To address the specific role that mentors-and the mentor’s spirit-can play in our life, in some passages I write autobiographically about certain collegial relationships. My life’s lesson’s are blessings. I’d like to pass them along.
If we’re called into a wilderness of sorts, encouragers-not always family, not always close friends-understand our heart’s longing:
“Sir,” said Caspian, “will you tell us ho to undo the enchantment which holds [these people] asleep?”
“I will gladly tell you that, my son,” said the Old Man. “To break this enchantment you must sail to the World’s End. or as near as you can come to it, and must come back having left at least one of your company behind.”
“And what is to happen to that one?” asked Reepicheep.
“He must go into the utter east and never return into the world.”
“That is my heart’s desire,” said Reepicheep.
CS Lewis, Voyage of the Dawn Treader
From The Mentor’s Spirit By Marsha Sinetar [pp. 1-2]