Mentoring is defined in many ways. At its core, mentoring is best explained as the process of providing specific, specialized skills to one or more people for the benefit of guidance, support and growth. When raising your adolescent, mentoring is often overlooked. The perception that mentoring is inaccessible or expensive could not be further from the truth.
In many indigenous cultures, mentorships were at the foundation of raising children. Children that exhibited certain skill sets at a young age would then be paired with a family or community member that excelled in the corresponding area and took that child under their care throughout their adolescence until that child became an expert in that skill. In more modern times, we have gone away from this practice and we can see the impact it has had on young people, who now go through their formative years feeling as though they are not good at anything, have no skills or talents, or have college degrees but no idea what career they can pursue that fulfills their desires.
In my personal life, I have sought out mentorships for my children and it was the best thing we could have gifted them. At the age of 15, my husband recommended to our daughter that she consider a career in aviation and we took her on her first discovery flight. She was immediately hooked. After she stated that she wanted to become a pilot, I spent countless hours on the internet trying to find resources and organizations that could support her young desire to fly for a living. We went to an aviation conference and as a result of that we found an organization called Aloha 99ʻs that mentors young future female aviators. She joined at the age of 16 and was able to seek out the guidance and support of some amazing women in aviation. She is now a sophomore at UH Hilo in their Aeronautical Science School, still on track to becoming a pilot. The mentorship she experienced was invaluable and something she continues to see