Thank Your Mentor Day

Jan. 21, 2016, is National Thank Your Mentor Day. Have you thanked those who made a difference in your life?

As a 4-H mentoring professional and advocate for mentoring, I try to set aside time every year to thank one or two people who made a difference in my life. It feels great to tell someone they made a difference, and my cards, emails and phone calls have sometimes helped me reconnect with someone special from my past. The first time I did this I looked up my eighth grade guidance counselor, Mr. Fenczyk, and sent him an email. I let him know what I did with my life and how he influenced me. He wrote back and let me know that he was retiring in just a few short months and had been wondering if his life work mattered. I think we both shed a few tears. I realized that when we are young, we often lack the capacity to see just how important some people are; how much of an impact they have.

Jan. 21, 2016, is National Thank Your Mentor Day. This is a day set aside to remind us to thank the Mr. Fenczyk’s in our lives. Michigan State University Extension suggests asking yourself, who mentored or mentors me? Have you said thank you? Here are some easy ways to recognize a past or present mentor.

Former mentors:

  1. Send a card. You might consider including a picture if it has been a long time since you last connected.
  2. Email. You can search for email addresses online through general searches or by going to the website of the place where the person works.
  3. Make a phone call. In this electronic age, we often forget how nice it is to talk with one another.
  4. Post a thank you via social media and tag your mentor if you are still connected.

Current or recent mentors:

  1. Treat them to coffee or dessert and catch up.
  2. Frame a photo of the two of you as a gift.
  3. Send a thank you card, email or call.
  4. Tell them they are your mentor. If you haven’t said it before, the words can be meaningful and can lead to an even stronger relationship moving forward.

A great way to thank a mentor is to give back and mentor a young person. Look into becoming a mentor and when you send a card or letter, let your mentor know about it. If you become a mentor, you will soon learn that mentoring will change your life for the better.

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