Our Mentor, The Honorable Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Why We Chose Him

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Mentoring Mentors

Yes, our mentor, the honorable Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is dead. One thing about having a dead mentor when you require their particular brand of inspiration, you can merely pick up their biography or a collection of their quotations.

Whether choosing a mentor who is alive or deceased, when you are selecting a mentor, this requires some time and research. You should consider these things when selecting a mentor or mentors. Each mentor should have accomplished something unprecedented in their field. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights leader who took on the challenge of making discrimination and segregation illegal. 

You want a mentor who was highly criticized by their peers or suffered some form of mental illness. Yes, you read that right. Dr. King didn't suffer mental illness; however, he was highly criticized not only by people who believed in segregation and who practiced discrimination, but his peers also criticized him. He was even stabbed by a black woman who walked up to him whom he assumed was greeting him with a handshake and hug, yet she stabbed him in the chest. Read about it here. Thank God that he survived and was able to continue his fight for discrimination and desegregation until his death. 

Your mentor must have believed that they were failures at one point in their life. This reveals humility. You want a humble mentor. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a humble and kind individual who taught nonviolence. As a theologian, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often reflected on his understanding of nonviolence. He described his own “pilgrimage to nonviolence” in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom,  and subsequent books and articles. “True pacifism,” or “nonviolent resistance,” King wrote, is “a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love." Both “morally and practically” committed to nonviolence, King believed that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.

Your mentor wants to be a good listener. Dr. King was a brilliant listener. He went to Moorehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and listened and studied well. Later, Dr. King listened to the struggles of people experiencing racism on the bus. That is when he developed the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955.

Now, if you choose a mentor who is living, a good role model offers guidance and advice during your formative childhood years or early in your career. Mentors like these help shape the person you will become. Many older adults make great mentors because they have experienced a lot in life. He or she has the wisdom and knowledge to teach a child or young adult. Also, mentors help others avoid being lonely and depress. Mentors increase social engagement.

To students, an excellent place to begin is at your local high school and inquire about their mentoring programs. You can also try regional chapters of national programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the United Way.

Also, many senior centers, churches, and other faith-based organizations have mentoring opportunities. (You can search for other mentoring programs at the website of the National Mentoring Partnership, www.mentoring.org.)



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