Two weeks ago I did five posts on mentoring, and based on that I received a couple interesting notes, here is one, posted with the permission of the sender:
"I have been in the position of having a mentor. A good mentor is the best friend and guide you can have. Of course, a bad mentor can do serious damage. When I began seriously coding in Perl I had the most wonderful mentor. He worked with a group of us: answering questions, suggesting ways to do things or areas we should research, but never actually doing our work for us. He made us learn. And daily he held a half hour group session when we covered one command or question or just some batch of code we all wanted to understand better.
In all my years in computers, I think I learned more in the years I had a mentor than in all the years I tried to figure things out for myself. A good mentor doesn't just give you the answer, he forces you to think and reason out the answer. He's a guide, saving hours in needless research, but providing the tools and knowledge to point us to the answers. He doesn't try to force his way of thinking on you, he discusses and tosses ideas around, and with brainstorming and involvement comes understanding and learning. Mentors involve you in your own learning process, and I believe everyone learns better when they feel a part of the process, not the brunt of it."
Imagine having that kind of impact on another person!