Mentoring Lessons from Plants (Pub. Philos. J.)

Everybody mentors, but usually without much training in how to be an effective mentor. I recommend that you have a look at Beronda Montgomery’s short article, “From Deficits to Possibilities: Mentoring Lessons from Plants on Cultivating Individual Growth through Environmental Assessment and Optimization.” The article makes the simple but effective suggestion that most of us go about mentoring all wrong, assuming that our mentees’ failures are due to their own deficiencies. Instead, Montgomery suggests that instead we look at environmental and cultural factors that contribute to their inability to thrive, like we do with plants. She also observes that when the plants under our care fare poorly, we wonder what we as caretakers are doing wrong; shouldn’t we afford our students and mentees the same consideration, rather than blaming them?  She pulls these views together into a series of six lessons from plants and their mentoring implications. I think this short paper would be a great journal club option, as the simple change in perspective about the relationships between mentors and mentees is likely to have far-reaching benefits to those in our community. (Summary by Mary Williams) Public Philosophy J. 6-15-173284