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What the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple Means to Youth
By Amari Jamil-Snyder / Sunday, July 8th, 2006 / O'Henry High School

The relationship of mentor and disciple is an old one. It began even before the mother Tyrannosaurus rex taught its young to hunt, and way before prehistoric people taught their children how to survive the brutal savannahs in Africa or the harsh winters in ice age Europe. A mentor passing on vital information to the future generation is necessary for humankind to survive, a keystone for civilization.

Onyeh Ibeh believes that the relationship between Mentor and Disciple is that of an older generation teaching the younger generation to help them develop and grow. According to him, this is a relationship of great importance because the youth learn not to repeat the mistakes of the past. His mentors are his parents and SGI friends, as they give him advice when he needs it.

Without a guide in this jungle of a world, you will certainly lose your way. A mentor can be a guidepost, leading you to the path of greatness and away from the path of failure. Sonali Mukhija believes, "If you're strong but you don't have a good friend, you'll be lost." He believes [that when you find a mentor you admire and can trust], you should follow the path of your mentor.

Guidepost, teacher, and inspiration - these are the roles of a mentor (man, that's hard work!). To Anne Hugu, a mentor is someone who, by setting a positive example, inspires her to be a better artist and person.

When Collin Dean thinks of the mentor and disciple relationship, he thinks of all the great teachers he has had, and not just the ones in school (one of Collin's mentors is his bass guitar teacher). To him, a good mentor is someone who helps him grow as an individual and gives him the tools to become independent.

But for some, the word "mentor" is a scary prospect, because they believe that it is someone who would dictate their lives. Personally, I was reluctant to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo at first because I feared that religion would dictate my life and take away my freedom. I didn't want anybody to tell me what to do. Now I realize that chanting does not dictate my life. It helps me grow as an individual, so I embrace it. "

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