A mentor is a person who has expertise in a particular area of expertise, and who agrees to teach or guide someone to improve their career in that field. In general, the act of mentoring is selfless, something a mentor does out of grace for another person. The mentor is not assigned, rather he (or she) makes himself or herself available to whoever needs support.
The relationship is very much like a teacher with a student. It is inspired by the well-established entrepreneurial tradition of the craft guild, in which a master craftsman instructs a handyman seeking to learn the skills necessary to the skill of the master, such as a blacksmith, silversmith, horse-breeder, sail-breeder, or whatever. The difference between the two is that in craft, the skill that passes from master to handyman is one that involves the use of hands to design a product to be sold or to create a work of art. While the mentor may additionally impart knowledge, political connections, or even a high degree of friendship, similar to a family relationship.
Sometimes, a stranger would approach the master, someone who had heard of the master’s reputation and wanted that particular person to guide him or her. Other times there’s a natural progression, like an uncle feeling a bold heart to mentor his wayward nephew, or a coach realizing that a ballplayer comes from a broken family and needs a father figure beyond what the young man’s family can provide. The more altruistic and somewhat sad version reverses the rule. A mentor is a person who is looking for a student, someone to take over their craft or art, a protege, or someone who might follow in the teacher’s footsteps. The cause is usually a change of master’s life, sudden loss of employment, unexpected geographic movement, physical disability, or imminent death.
The mentor relationship is more intense under these circumstances. The time may be short. The mentor may be in physical pain. On top of all that, the mentor didn’t expect to be oriented at all in a situation-driven relationship. He or she may not be a great mentor because of this and his or her heart may not be. But because of that grief, it may still be possible to form a strong human bond. Under no circumstances should the mentor understand and practice the pledge as a selfless act. It is the giving of oneself entirely, without reservation, pure and simple.
The person who receives the mentor’s offering is the person who is blessed to enjoy the grace of another human being. The recipient should be humble, grateful, and accommodating. It would be a huge insult to have your teacher take time off to fit your personal schedule. What you need to do is stop what you’re doing, and greet the router whenever he calls. After all, it is only your appreciation that moves the mentor to offer you the selfless labor of his time to provide you with the benefit of enriching your life.