This year we’re having a monthly series on mentoring. Head here to read the previous posts.
I heard a radio interview a few years ago where the interviewee was lamenting the fact that we’ve lost the concept of the uncle in today’s society. Families live far apart these days, and too many kids grown up without the steady, continuous presence of adults in their lives who aren’t their parents.
What he was saying is that family used to more reliably provide a network of built-in mentors, which is a shame, because kids still need the presence of older and wiser adults–who aren’t their parents–in their lives.
If you’re getting together with family or close friends this weekend, stop for a moment to consider the value of the aunt, the uncle, the older friend who is not the parent, and remember: that could be you.
If you have nieces or nephews, do you need to up your game? It’s easy for me to be a less-than-awesome aunt, because distance gets in the way and I don’t see my nieces and nephews as often as I’d like. If you’re in the same boat as me, this is a great season to make up for lost time.
Try sitting at the kids’ table this year. Brush up on your knock-knock jokes. Bring a little present. Make sure you have time to chat with the kids–even for a few minutes. (For more tips, check out how to be an awesome uncle over at the Art of Manliness.)
If you don’t have nieces or nephews, think about being somebody’s honorary aunt. My own kids call my cousins their “aunts” because it captures the relationship so much better, but no blood relation is required: adopt a friend’s kid as your “niece-in-love.”
This holiday season, make it a point to take advantage of any mentoring relationships that are already built into your family, however those relationships happen to look in your life, and whether that means giving advice or getting it.
Do you have a special relationship with an aunt or an uncle, a niece or a nephew, biological or adopted? Tell us about it in comments.