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Anonymous Mentors -October 2019

Anonymous Mentors

I would imagine that at one time or another we have all had “anonymous mentors” who have influenced/ helped us along our way. Some folks are more memorable than others. Let me share one of mine as an example of what I am talking about.

When I was sixteen, I was so interested in pursuing a medical career, I went through a program to become a certified orderly. However, at that time you needed to be eighteen to work in an acute care facility. So, I went off and got a job in what is now called a skilled nursing facility, and back in the day was known as a convalescent hospital.

One day, I was given the assignment to give an elderly wheelchair bound patient a shave. So, I went over and introduced myself and let the gentleman know what I was going to do. He seemed somewhat disinterested and yet willing. I lathered up his face and then began to shave him. Almost immediately profanity was being screamed loud and clear. “Don’t you know how to @#$%& shave ?!” My honest answer was – no.

I was only sixteen and had not started to shave myself. My parents divorced when I was much younger, and I had no male figure to teach me things like shaving. And this was way before YouTube! My patient/victim became an anonymous mentor for me.

After settling down a bit, he gave me my first tutorial on how to shave. I would imagine that he was more vested in surviving me holding the blade to his face, than being my shaving mentor. I was grateful for both outcomes.

Every once and a while, when I am shaving, I think back to this experience. Admittedly, it had a bit of a rough start, and I have never forgotten the lesson. So, I ask you to take a moment and reflect on who may have been “anonymous mentors” for you along the way. What lessons did you learn? Feel free to write and share your stories.

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