Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mentoring

I spent yesterday morning at a Courage & Renewal North Texas event. We had about 20 folks in a Circle of Trust and we looked at the poem "Shoulders" by Naomi Shihab Nye:


A man crosses the street in rain
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.
This man carries the world's most sensitive cargo
but he's not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE
HANDLE WITH CARE.


His ears fill up with breathing,
he hears the hum of a boy's dream
deep inside him.


We're not going to be able
to live in this world
if we're not willing to do what he's doing
with one another.


The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.
Excerpted from the Inner Work of the Leader Manual. Katherine Tyler Scott.

And then these questions to consider: "What does it mean to hold something in trust? It involves being responsible for something or someone that we don't possess, own, or have ultimate control over. It is knowing that when our responsibility is completed, we will have contributed to improving the capability and health of individuals and organizations and to enhancing conditions for those we may never know, for a time we may never see."

We spoke about holding someone or something in trust, about being held, and about the social implications of these actions. I remembered who held me for so many years -- my boss at ARCO, Helaine H. She was a true mentor, creating a safe environment for me to learn to trust my capacities as a manager, nudging, even pushing, me outside my comfort zone when I needed it, teaching me appropriate boundaries (that included a couple of painful experiences, as I vaguely recall, but she knew that pain sometimes had to come with true learning) -- and she did it all with a wicked sense of humor. It was a joy working for and with Helaine. She retired three or four years before I left, and I remembering missing her terribly. My new boss was fine, but he took no real interest in me as a person. Helaine was (and is; I hear from her occasionally) a quality human being.
This pic was taken at a party at my house in the early 1990s.

5 comments:

Purple said...

I love using poetry to access the deeper questions of life. Helaine...such a gift.

Jan said...

Beautiful poem, picture, and writing. Katherine, you look lovely.

Helaine said...

Katherine! I had forgotten how pretty you are! ...inside and out! You were always a suprvisor's dream and I learned a lot from watching your grow and flourish! William says "Hey!"

Katherine E. said...

Note: pic is from 20 years ago!

RJ said...

What a perfect poem and sweet, sweet reflection... a great way to close out my day, katherine. thank you.