Mentor in Memorium: B.B. King (1926-2015)

BB_KingOne of the most influential blues musicians ever, B.B. King, sold millions of records worldwide and was inducted into both the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Mr. King played a guitar he affectionately called “Lucille,” and with his soulful voice, heartfelt lyrics, and scorching guitar licks became a mentor to dozens of musicians.

One of those he acted as a mentor to was British blues guitar legend Eric Clapton, who said of his mentor, “I want to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years, and for the friendship that we enjoyed. There’s not a lot left to say because this music is almost a thing of the past now, and there are not many left to play in the pure way that B.B. did. He was a beacon for all of us who loved this kind of music. If you’re not familiar with his work, I would encourage you to go out and find an album called ‘B.B. King: Live at the Regal,’ which is where it started for me as a young player.”

Mr. King was raised by his grandmother after his parents separated and his mother died. At 7 he picked cotton, drove tractors, and dropped out of school in grade 10.

Shirley King, one of the 11 of his 15 surviving biological children said, “I didn’t get a chance to hug my daddy and tell him goodbye.”

Mentor in Memorium: Leslie Nielsen (1930-2010)

Leslie_NielsenBest known for starring in big screen comedies “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun,” Leslie Nielsen was an expert at goofball humour while maintaining a deadpan delivery and bumbling style.

The characters he played typically provided movie lines that became unforgettable. In the movie, “Airplane!” he played the buffoonish hero doctor who finds himself on a plane overcome by food poisoning. A passenger says to him, “Surely, you can’t be serious.” His reply: “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”

Fellow comedians quickly came under his influence as he was just as eager to make those around him laugh as he was to play funny roles on TV and in film. Canadian comic Brent Butt said of him, “He definitely loved to entertain; he loved to try and get laughs all the time, that was kind of what he was about.”

Actor Paul Gross, who worked with him on the TV-series “Due South” and the film, “Men with Brooms,” said that “Leslie’s huge heart and fierce intelligence defined oddball comedy and he was its undisputed master. His loss will be felt by all. More personally he was a mentor and friend. I will miss him terribly.”

Nielsen appeared in more than 100 films and hundreds of TV shows throughout his six-decade career.

If the name “Lt. Frank Drebin” is familiar, you were likely a fan.

Mentor in Memorium: Ronnie Gilbert (1926-2015)

Ronnie_GilbertAs a member of the New York-based folk group the Weavers, American folk singer Ronnie Gilbert’s voice on the song Goodnight Irene led the group, consisting of Pete Seeger, Lee Hays and Fred Hellerman, to the top of the music charts in 1950.

But the group’s song choices and political sympathies brought them attention from the FBI, and they were blacklisted as a result of the FBI’s relentless anti-communist campaign.

Ms. Gilbert’s joyful contralto voice established a blueprint for folkgroups, encouraging audiences to sing along while Gilbert acted as a mentor for female singers.

Their pursuit by the FBI haunted their performances and the Weavers disbanded in 1953.

But in 1955 they reunited for a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. Mary Travers was in the audience. She was inspired by Gilbert’s powerful voice, and with Ronnie Gilbert as her mentor she would go on to sing with one of the greatest folk groups of the century, Peter, Paul and Mary.

After the Weavers, Ms. Gilbert combined solo singing with acting, and in the 1970s she trained as a therapist and gained a degree in psychology.

Useful Quotes About Mentoring to Inspire Stakeholders to Support Mentoring Initiatives

Mentoring Quotes
Page 1 of Collected Quotes about Mentoring

From time-to-time we compile selected quotes from the monthly issues of the Peer Bulletin to illustrate a theme.

Here is one of the compilations on the theme of mentoring. The quotes are meant to be used to support the practice, importance, and value of mentoring.

Volume I is available for download at no cost here:

I would be delighted to receive more quotes. I do the research to verify the source of the quote, then add a link to more details about the source, and, if available, include a photo of the source.

Provide additional quotes and the name of the person who said the quote in the comments section attached to this blog entry.

Subscribe to the Peer Bulletin to receive these quotes as well as other pithy, inspirational, and sometimes funny quotes. Subscriber here: As a subscriber you also get no-cost consultation on mentoring, peer assistance, and coaching; and you can gain free books, win extra months for your subscription, and eventually earn a completely free subscription.

Mentor in Memorium: Marie Souvestre (1830-1905)

Marie_SouvestreMademoiselle Souvestre was a French feminist educator who founded the girls’ boarding school Allenswood, outside London, where her most famous pupil was Eleanor Roosevelt who went on to become one of the most respected women of the 20th century.

Eleanor’s early life was marked by an alcoholic father and a vain and distant mother (both of whom died before she was ten), and she was sent abroad to boarding school.

Mademoiselle Souvestre was the headmistress of the preparatory school to which young Eleanor was sent. Fortunately, Mademoiselle Souvestre’s goal for her students was to expand their minds and attain intellectual independence. The school used French in many classes. Eleanor turned out to be better prepared than most for Allenswood, due to extensive French tutoring prior to enrolling.

According to Elizabeth Pearce of MentorResources, it was during this period that Eleanor lost her shyness and acquired the self-confidence which would stand her so well in later life. Mademoiselle Souvestre mentored Eleanor, and they made field trips to Venice and Paris, with Eleanor making the arrangements. Mentoring introduced the teenager to the lifestyle of an independent woman. Eleanor always credited Souvestre with forming both her character and her intellectual outlook. The First Lady’s newspaper column on politics and social issues, My Day, was read daily by millions.

Mentor in Memorium: Tom Magliozzi (1937-2014)

Tom_MagliozziTom and his brother Ray, known as “Click and Clack,” hosted National Public Radio’s Car Talk show and changed radio talk shows forever. Their off-the-cuff banter, interaction with callers, and ability to make fun of themselves became a model for dozens of radio personalities. Prior to their influence NPR radio was marked by formal, polite, and cautious talk.

Tom’s infectious laugh as he tried to deal with caller’s worries about their automobiles, made the show a hit with both car buffs and those who knew nothing about automobiles. “Tom actually hated working in any world,” says his brother Ray. “Later on, when we were doing Car Talk, he would come in late and leave early. We used to warn him that if he left work any earlier, he’d pass himself coming in.”

Tom became everyone’s car mentor. One listener said, “I know nothing about cars, but when I was responsible for my very own, you and Ray helped me figure out what to listen to and how to communicate it to the person who could fix the problem. As a young woman with a car, you gave me the confidence to deal with others in the car world. You have always been like family to me. You were the crazy, yet helpful uncle that was able to give you that advice that nobody else could give. You have made me a better person, and I will always be grateful for that. I wish you peace and am sending all my love to your family. Thank you for always being there for me.”

Walking into Discovery: A Metaphor for Coaching, Mentoring, and Peer Assistance

rac-trial-islandThe city I live in is one of the premier tourist destinations in Canada. It’s a city known for gardens, ocean views, residential architecture, mild temperatures, and friendly people. Traffic, crime, noise, and pollution are all minimal here. And although I’ve lived here most of my adult life, it’s only been the last few months, that I’ve really gained a knowledge of where I live.

While I used to drive or cycle virtually everywhere in the city, I’ve been spending much more time walking as a way to exercise and improve my health. Daily walking has become a passion and has led me to literally “take the road less travelled.” I’m addicted to it. And I’m amazed at the benefits it has had, not just for my health, but for my perspective and spirit.

Slowing down, strolling, and meandering through my neighbourhood has revealed to me much of what I’ve been missing for many years. Not only have I been able to see beautiful gardens close-up, but I’ve been able to stop and talk with their gardeners. I’ve met more neighbours, their children, and their dogs and cats. I’ve learned more about renovations, financial troubles, family needs, and civic concerns.

I’ve also found short-cuts, trails, paths, and back alleys that I didn’t use or know about previously. I’m travelling in the same area, but I’m seeing things I hadn’t seen before. I’m experiencing the importance of neighbourhood relationships in an urban area, which seems to be essential during a time in our history when many factors act to separate us as neighbours.

Walking also facilitates communication. Almost everyone I walk by expresses some acknowledgement with a “hello,” “how’s it going?” or “lovely day” comment. Eye contact is common. And I even get a chance to learn how others see me. Some people that I say hello to when I’m walking by, return the recognition with, “Hello, sir.” I didn’t realize I had gotten that old yet to have the privilege of being called “sir.” Every now and then a conversation starts that goes beyond mere acknowledgement.

As a cyclist I knew that I was already seeing, smelling, and experiencing things that driving in a car didn’t provide. But I didn’t realize what I was missing. Walking has allowed me to slow down and actually take in much more than I knew was there. I’m seeing things that I’ve always seen, yet I’m seeing them differently.

Walking is probably a good metaphor to use to describe a way to improve our work in coaching, mentoring and peer assistance. The pace of our daily life may not leave much time for reflection, contemplation, meditation, and silence. Too often we don’t slow down enough and we miss what’s really going on. Typically when I return from a walk I feel energized and more connected within the layers of myself. If I can communicate a slow walking pace in my mentoring, coaching and peer work, I think I’m providing a safer and grounded area for deeper exploration, curiosity and adventure. A slower pace signals, “Our time together is a sacred place.”

Destination walking is a useful way to get to a specific location, and using it as a metaphor again, having a destination or goal can be an essential element of progress in coaching, mentoring, and peer assistance. I used to be an avid destination seeker. But sometimes having a goal interferes with exploring a detour and possibly discovering a treasure that is hidden in a less travelled lane.

Destination walking often is associated with taking the shortest, quickest or easiest path. While I still take destination walks, I am no longer consumed by a focus on getting to the end; instead I’m ready for detours or travel down an unfamiliar route. The number of things I’ve discovered, and the satisfaction I’ve experienced during the journey in an unfamiliar neighbourhood have enriched my life. Since a common element of coaching, mentoring, and peer assistance is the focus on the practitioner and client (or partner) working together, walking seems to be a highly suitable way to travel.

When I walk down avenues I have walked along many times before, I often see something new or something I hadn’t noticed before. And the landscape changes with the weather and the seasons, just as our “inner landscape” changes with our moods, or insights and growth. Going over familiar territory in coaching, mentoring or peer assistance sessions may lead to noticing some new aspect, focus, or perspective that did not surface previously.

From what I’ve been reading about brain neurobiology, walking increases cohesion between the left and right hemisphere of the brain so that creativity and cognitive processes can better connect; the brain becomes more integrated and our ideas flow more freely. Walking allows us to stop and “smell the roses,” although in my neighbourhood, it’s more likely to also include “smell the tomatoes.” I hope you will be able to travel the road less travelled.

Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.

~ Steven Wright ~
American humorist