Did you know there is a little red book with secrets to developing an amazing golf swing? It’s a classic sports book titled Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf. Now, this work reads more like the biblical Book of Proverbs or short stories, rather than “perfecting your swing in ten easy steps.” Penick is credited with mentoring some of golf’s greats like Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw. When it comes to a golf swing, no matter how good you are, you are always looking for ways to fine-tune your approach. It’s the same with mentoring a child or teen. I keep this book on my desk at school as a daily reminder that parenting, teaching, and coaching–mentorship itself–are skills that are never perfected but always pursued.

My personal style of mentorship has been shaped through many people in my life, my marriage and parents included. Funny enough, I have even gleaned tips from blockbuster movies, classic novels, and several nonfiction books. So after years of practice, am I done working on my “swing” of mentorship? No!

What is your “swing-style” in mentoring the children and teens around you? I encourage you to actively look for ways to fine-tune your mentoring skills and embrace the challenge and joy of continual learning!

P.S. Here are creative sources that have shaped my mentoring style:

Sci-Fi Movie: Men in Black (the mentorship between Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith)
Adventure Movie: Master and Commander (Russell Crowe’s character)
Classic Drama Movie: Steel Magnolias 
Nonfiction Book: Tell It at Slant – Eugene Peterson
Leadership Book: Superbosses – Stanley Finklestein