Donnie* was going to college. “when I go to college….” commonly came out of his mouth.
However, James* knew that Donnie often skipped school and rarely turned in his homework and had not even signed up for the SATs even though he was going to do it every week they met. On this particular Tuesday, the conversation was going the same way as they drove to get something to eat. James had confronted the fact that Donnie’s stated future and his current behavior were at odds, but it did not seem to sink in. James decided to paint a picture that he hoped would sink in deeper than mere words.
When they were a half-mile away from the restaurant and on the right road, James made a right turn into a residential neighborhood. He drove two blocks and made another right turn, drove two blocks, and made another right turn. All the while Donnie continued talking about his plans. James made another right turn and another until they were on their second lap of the two square block area.
“Where are you going?” Donnie asked.
“To get some wings” James replied.
“The wing place is on Route 231,” Donnie said.
“Yes,” James replied, “But I like this road better.”
“But you can’t get there going this way,” Donnie said with disbelief.
James pulled over to talk, “You mean you have to be on the right road to get to where you want to go? Donnie, you say you want to go to college, but the road you are on does not lead to college. You need to go to school and study so you can get good enough grades to graduate from high school and get into college. You are right when you said, you can’t get there going this way.” You currently have a dream of going to college and you need to make it a goal you work towards. A dream is when you say you want to go somewhere or want to do something but you never get on the right road that leads where you want to go. A goal is something you want to do and you write down a plan and then you get on the right road every day that leads to where you want to go. Now let’s go get some wings and write down that goal.”
Oftentimes mentors want to talk to their mentees about problems or issues and want to offer verbal guidance, advice, and support. However, sometimes the best way for a mentee to hear and listen is to show them. A concrete example or demonstration like the one above can often clarify the situation in your person’s mind better than any conversation or convincing talk and it will stay with them long term.
Article by: Larry Raab