We look to the skies these days before we commit to our daily routines. Smoke from increasing fires has reminded us how interconnected we all are by weather patterns, seasons, and overall climate. In the midst of the hubbub brought on by change, some remain constant in their commitment to mentoring. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is one such group. They provide the opportunity for young adults to stretch their wings and get a “hands-on” approach to flying as they follow along in-flight and benefit from the informal mentoring being offered by the EAA Eagle Flights program. Visit the Young Eagles info page here for their upcoming event: https://chapters.eaa.org/eaa219/young-eagles
Borrowing from the inspiring work of author and Surgeon David Cranston, the connection is made between eagles, mentoring, and spirituality. He does the very helpful work of addressing the etymology of the word “mentor” to ground us with some background before uplifting us with many historic examples and his own experience with mentoring. He explains:
“In Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, Odysseus, King of Ithaca, entrusted his son, Telemachus, to his friend and adviser, Mentor, when he went away to fight the Trojan War. Mentor was a wise and trusted figure who displayed many admirable qualities towards Telemachus. His task was not just to raise and educate Telemachus, but also to prepare and develop him for the responsibilities he would have to face as the heir to a kingdom. The relationship required a full measure of wisdom, integrity and personal investment on the part of Mentor.” (from On Eagle’s Wings, Models in Mentoring by David Cranston: 2014, 1517 Media, Fortress Press, p7-9)
He is of course borrowing his title and theme from Old Testament text found in Isaiah 40:31, “You have seen what I did for you in Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” It's a very reassuring and resonant theme as mentoring programs like Young Eagles reach out to uplift youth and let them know they are not discounted or left behind.
-Suzanne Church, AmeriCorps VISTA Mentor Coordinator