Benjamin Button Mentoring
Mar 23, 2009 by Don Payne | 0 Comments
In my last post I promised some positive, grateful reflections for various mentors from a tradition which in many respects I have tried to leave behind. But let me leave that behind temporarily for a brief interlude.
This past weekend my wife Sharon and I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, an interesting and highly embellished rendition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story by the same name. Sidenotes: The irony is the inverse relationship between the length of the short story and the length of the movie. My irritation is that the screenplay seems to have been designed to put Brad Pitt in as many sexual encounters as possible (perhaps accounting in part for the length of the movie!). Still, it was a very interesting story told in an entertaining manner. If you have not seen it, it's the story of a boy who is born as an old man then grows younger as he ages.
To mentoring; a conversation this morning with one of my mentors surfaced a new challenge in his life, the mobilization of the "gray haired" generation to be mentors (at fifty-one I still like to think of "gray hairs" as a generation beyond myself even though I have an increasing amount of the stuff). We puzzled over the challenges of instilling in the retirement generation a vision and passion for investing in younger adults who need and want their company. The imagery of Benjamin Button came to mind. We need a whole generation of mentors who, in their latter years, start all over and find a new horizon of service in front of them as mentors just when they thought their most productive years were completed. It's not too much of a stretch to suggest that in a very real sense they will die younger than when they began this venture. I have seen this happen and it's thrilling.
What stands in the way of the currently retired generation getting engaged as mentors? Talk to me.