Arthur Byrene, Liguorian Magazine

January 6, 2022

“The American Heritage Dictionary defines mentor as a noun meaning ‘a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.’ It does not list the word as a verb, yet it has entered our vocabulary. For Robert Wicks the word means what the title of his book states, ‘sharing wisdom.’

The author notes in the Introduction: ‘Mentoring, the sharing of wisdom, is a beautiful part of adult life. We see this in the help provided by A.A. sponsors, experienced teachers, business executives, office managers, parents, clergy, and so many people in both formal and informal relationships.’ In this volume Wicks encourages the reader ‘to enter more deeply into this form of relationship.’

In short chapters he presents forty lessons for mentoring, for sharing wisdom. Some lessons are basic to any healthy relationship, such as being respectful of others, letting people tell their stories, and being patient with others. Others deal more formally with this particular form of relationship, such as what to do when the mentor feels overwhelmed by a story told or a question asked by the person seeking mentoring.

This is a book of wise counsel by one who has sought to practice what he preaches. Though the author admits that he has not always done that, the reader can see that Wicks has learned much as he invites others to learn from his experiences.

People in many walks of life will find this work a welcome way to reflect on something they often are already doing. I think parents, especially those with teenagers, will find this a very welcome guide, because mentoring is what their role is at this stage of their children’s life. Grandparents may also find that they exercise this role with their grandchildren.

The book contains helpful appendices. One deals with ‘Answers to Common Questions on Mentoring,’ another with ‘Readings to Enrich the Mentoring Process: An Annotated Bibliography.’ We can be grateful that a seasoned mentor like Robert Wicks has shared his wisdom with us.

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