The influence of the mentor, the guide, the muse, is a powerful one not to be underestimated in the unlikely forms it sometimes inhabits. The mentor often manages to escape the expectations the mentee holds the parent to, and therefore, is in danger of being placed upon a pedestal of idolatry. The individuals who have the ability to alter our behavior, and widen our personal paradigms and perspectives are more often than not the embodiment of perfection in our eyes – the holders of the attributes that we need in order to surpass our personal failings.
The mentor’s job is a rather complicated one, one that must be performed in a way that allows the mentor to remain free of expectations of perfection yet enables him or her to enlighten and assist in the fundamentals of perception shifts. There is a great danger of misperceiving the very nature of the character of the mentor, and so, with any relationship involving mentorship, the mentee must be sure to bear in mind that the guidance provided by the mentor is merely relative to specific subjects.
I had this harsh dose of reality handed to me when I received a gem, a diamond of advice in the rough, from an individual who I later learned was a drug-dealing pimp. While the knowledge of this fact was initially a tough pill to swallow, it later led to prove that mentorship can be found in the most unlikely of places, and that mentors are not the inhabitants of perfection. I was simply fortunate enough to have heard the right thing at the right time in the right place – perhaps a divine sort of intervention was at play, and plays a role in the existence of mentors initially.