You are asked to mentor a woman who is clearly overwhelmed. She doesn’t seem capable of pulling it together.

You’re teaching a struggling teen, and she is visibly in pain and acting out in ways that you find incomprehensible.

You have a child that is clearly out of line, seemingly bent on breaking every rule.

When you begin a mentoring relationship, it is essential to ask yourself a question: How are you viewing the person you will potentially mentor?

Regardless of what you know or what your brainHow are you viewing the person you will mentor? is telling you about the person in front of you, you as a mentor need to develop eyes to see deeper.

Think of Korach. Korach staged a rebellion against the greatest leader of the Jewish people: Moses himself! He argued over the appointment of Aaron, Moses’ brother, as high priest. He acted very much like a “bad guy.” And yet, the Torah goes ahead and names an entire Torah portion after him.

Why? Because while he was wrong in the way he went about it, he had good intentions. When stripped down to its core, his campaign against Moses was born out of his desire for increased holiness, to be like a High Priest. And so the Torah views Korach as a man who, while misguided, had a positive goal embedded in his behavior.

As a mentor, in order to be able to influence your mentee, how you see him or her matters. It’s your role to strip their externals down until you see the untainted desires of a pure, untainted soul.

This is more than seeing something positive your mentee can do in the future, but something positive that your student/child/friend is presently displaying. It might be giving them credit for approaching you for help. It might be their desire for truth. What is the kernel of goodness that you can see now? The success of your mentoring is in believing in the present goodness of your client, despite what he or she brings to the table.

Self-Reflection: How do you view your mentee?

Source: Sefer Hasichot 5748, Volume II, Pages 504-505