Some of you may know that Im not a big fan of reality TV. However, in my view one of the best programmes that Ive seen on TV recently is the BBCs Make me honest. The programme differs from many other reality television shows by attempting to use the TV medium as a way of communicating and facilitating personal change. Were not talking about short-term fake-it type turnarounds. Instead, the programme concerns itself with the theme of mentoring.
Mentoring is a relationship between two individuals in which one person gives their time to support and encourage the other. This usually occurs at a time of transition in the mentees life and the mentor counsels and assists the mentee throughout this period.
There are many types of mentoring modes. Corrective is normally associated with high right and wrong disciplines. Job related mentoring can involve on the role/task/job focused activity. Academic mentoring often involves learner and teacher relationships, but tend to be one way, from instructor (knowledge leader) to apprentice. Needs based is quite common but does assume that both parties, Mentor and Mentee have something to gain from the sharing and development activity.
Mentoring is a great way to impart self confidence and development. In particular, where parents are either unavailable or unable to provide responsible guidance for their children, mentors can play a critical role. The lack of appropriate adult role models is thought to be one of the factors influencing those who end up in the youth justice system. Mentors can fulfil this role, showing offenders an example of positive, acceptable behaviour.
The BBCs Make me Honest programme was broadcasted every Thursday from 9pm to 10pm on BBC2. Last weeks programme focused on how abandonment can lead to rage and crime. The Mentor was courageous to take-on a 6 month mission. The mentee was constantly on edge and at one time I believed was beyond recovery. In the end perseverance, determination and a positive result surfaced.
Back in the 80s during heavy rioting episodes often community leaders would work with the local youth and authorities to develop their confidence in resolving issues.
With rising drug related cases and violent crimes, the mentoring principle could be used today but in a preventative manner. Therefore, instead of waiting for a problem to be resolved through a needs based situation, we have an opportunity for role models to share their experiences at schools and colleges. Many may position the lack of time argument. Availability of mentors could be made an essential service, provided by Corporations. If corporations are willing to visit Universities to seek talent during the year, why cant they also be encouraged to set and examples of integrity, it may have a two way ethical and moralistic impact.