Paying forward

I went to dinner last night with one of my dearest students. She wanted to pay. I wouldn’t let her, mostly because I have a real job and she doesn’t (yet) and I’m a commie in practice and a marketist in theory, but the other point I wanted to make with her is that you repay mentoring with paying forward.

When you receive mentoring, it’s a gift. There are bad mentors and bad fits, but when mentoring works, it is a gift like nothing else. All of us who teach and parent do so to repay the unmerited gifts that we ourselves have received.

So mentors give you a gift, and with that gift comes an obligation: to pay it forward, to spread the growth of human capital, to tolerate the weaknesses and follies of youth in order to help people become who they are.