Tuesday, February 21, 2012

RemembeRED: Mentors

Prompt: Do you have a mentor, or are you a mentor for someone else?  Now write about an experience with your mentor (or the person to whom you are a mentor) that shows us what that relationship means to you.  

Abnormal psychology is one of the required classes for a psychology major, but I would have taken the class even if it wasn't my major.  The professor sort of reminded me of a larger version of Teddy Roosevelt, with the mustache and the little round glasses.  His name was Ed.  He not only talked about the disorders of the mind, he talked about actual people with those disorders, such as the artist Louis Wain. Somehow, that made the symptoms we learned seem more real than they would have been with just a text book and a lecture.  I thought that Ed was a great professor,  then I moved on to the next class.

After I graduated and taught high school for a year, I realized that I didn't want to be a teacher. I impulsively quit my job.  Then I freaked out a little, because I had never done anything quite that impulsive before.  I didn't have a clue what I was going to do from that point on.  I flailed about, looking for a job, but really I was looking for a direction. Then I ran into Ed.  I don't remember where.  But he remembered me, and since he was the kind of person that people told all their problems to, I found myself unloading about my lack of a career goal and my seemingly directionless life. It was as if I opened my mouth and an avalanche of words that I had never spoken came pouring out.  I may have even cried.  Ed listened to it all, although he must have had other things to do. 

Ed suggested that I look into a post graduate degree in school psychology, and explained a little about the field when I looked puzzled.  I could work with kids who had disabilities, Ed told me.   He said that it would be the perfect career for me.  I was intrigued by the idea, but I needed to think about it.  Ed gave me his card and told me to call if I was interested. 

I called.  I had to jump through all of the hoops to get into the graduate program, but Ed was always there, pointing me in the right direction.  He guided me through my first administration of an IQ test and made sure that my reports were not too long-winded.  He even helped me get my job.  I could always talk to him during those years, and he always listened. 

I miss that.


  1. What an amazing mentor! I'm sorry you've lost him at some point, everyone needs an "Ed."

  2. A wonderful story. My favorite line: "It was as if I opened my mouth and an avalanche of words that I had never spoken came pouring out." Marvelous word picture. What a blessing that you met Ed twice!

  3. He does sound like an amazing person. I surmise that he's no longer with us?

  4. I agree with Melanie - loved that word picture. There are so few people in our lives that really inspire us to be real. So glad you found Ed.

    - Emily @ My Pajama Days

  5. People enter our lives, and change them forever. Sometimes, it's not a single event, but a series of gestures, exchanges, and conversations.

    I'm so glad you found your special mentor.

  6. Amazing- he may never know how deeply he affected your life for the better.

  7. Some people we're just meant to meet. Without describing him, you described the tremendous impact he made on your life. Glad you met him :)


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