Mentoring – A to Z: Xylogragh

Posted: April 13, 2012 in Finish Strong, Mentoring - A to Z
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I didn’t want to take the easy way out when it comes to a letter like x. So in my search through the few pages of words that begin with x, I found this one that really brings to light the power of mentoring: xylograph.

First, let me answer the question, what is a xylograph?  A xylograph is an engraving made in a piece of wood for either an artistic expression or to be used for block printing. The picture above is an example of a piece of wood that was engraved to be a block for printing the pattern created. Once the engraving has been completed, the image can be copied over and over again.

What I find interesting with xylography is that once the engraver begins working on a piece of wood, there is no erasing or starting over with that piece. The wood is permanently changed at the hands of the craftsman. Slight mistakes might be altered but there is no going back to the start without beginning on a new piece of wood. The xylograph will reflect the perfection and imperfections of the master craftsman.

As a mentor, you must recognize the influence you have on the life of your mentee. The words you say, the actions you take, and the attitudes you display are all having an effect. You are in many ways engraving something permanent on the life of your mentee. This is not to say you have to be a perfect craftsman as a mentor, just realize the impact you have on their life. Be responsible for what you pass on to them.

I had a college professor who was one of my mentors for a number of years who taught an alternative approach to sharing the message of Christianity. He had left behind the traditional church model to implement a model that was more consistent with his views of how the early church operated. To this day, I have implemented concepts he taught me and that class. I, too, have stepped away from the traditional church model for similar reasons he did. He made a lasting impact on my life.

It is important for the mentee to know that when you choose to be mentored, you are offering yourself up as a piece of wood to be carved by the master craftsman. Be sure the person who is doing the engraving will create a beautiful piece that will bring honor and success to you. Remember, you have the choice in who leaves their mark on your life. If you don’t like the engraving that is being done, find another craftsman.

One last thought. Just as a xylograph can be created to make prints, so will your engravings in the life of your mentee continue to be passed on to others. Although they will only be copies of the original, they will continue to make an imprint in the lives of others for years to come. Engrave something of such value that it will be appreciated by future generations.


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