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Mentoring as the Giving and Receiving of Wisdom Breaking the Chains of Colonialism on Our Hearts Minds and Souls By Glenn Omatsu Glenn Omatsu is a lecturer in Asian American Studies and Educational Opportunity Program EOP at CSUN and serves as coordinator of the Faculty Mentor Program When we hear the word mentoring a powerful image forms in our minds that of an old sage almost always male with long hair and often a flowing beard sitting for hours in a secluded space and providing wisdom to a young person This dominant image shapes our core beliefs about mentoring We usually define mentoring as consisting of long term relationships as involving the transmission of wisdom from the old to the young and as occurring in magical big moments between two people However there is a basic problem with this definition It is wrong and it is largely shaped by western colonialism In reality mentors in our communities are both young and old can be female as well as male and can have short hair or no hair The mentors in our lives can be sages but they are more likely ordinary people all around us In the real world mentoring means more than an isolated long term relationship involving two individuals most mentoring occurs in a web of 1 relationships with others i e within a community In our communities mentoring is reciprocal and not one way i e mentoring involves an interactive process in which both the mentor and mentee benefit And perhaps most important mentoring in the real world occurs not only in big moments but mainly in little moments i e as part of our daily interactions with others In their small book Mentoring The Tao of Giving and Receiving Wisdom Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch remind us about the mentoring opportunities that are always all around us They define mentoring as the giving and receiving of wisdom within a web of relationships Through the interactions that mentors have with others they share the gift of wisdom and have it graciously appreciated and



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