Mentoring is the second of the three aspects in which we constantly pursue excellence at Sparhawk, along with Academics and Athletics. The most immediate goal of the Mentoring program is to assist parents in the intellectual, moral, physical, and spiritual education of their sons.
This is indeed a tall order. And to be able to carry it out, each mentor needs to have a clear sense of what each of these four aspects – intellectual, moral, physical, and spiritual – encompasses. He also needs to recognize that his own personal effort to find balance in these four areas will make his guidance credible to the boy and his parents.
What follows is a brief explanation of each of them.
The intellectual life is based on the contemplation of reality. This contemplation of reality leads man to seek to understand it and explain it to himself and others.
Although in Mentoring an emphasis is placed on the boy’s academic life – his classes, homework, grades, etc. – it would be rather limiting to discuss only that subject. The intellectual life is a much broader topic, which should include the discussion of outside reading, the desire to know new things, and the development of an inquisitive mind.
It is important to help the each boy develop study habits that will help him in his high school years and beyond.
A key component of reality, and, in fact, the most immediate one, is the mentee himself. We will foster in each boy a desire for self-reflection and self-knowledge.
The moral life aims at the attainment of human virtues. The starting point in Mentoring is, therefore, to identify what human virtues the mentee has developed and which ones he still needs to acquire.
This life of virtue not only allows each boy to develop many other talents, but it also forms the foundation of his spiritual life. It is crucial, therefore, with the guidance of his mentor, that the mentee grows in virtue by developing good habits and eradicating bad ones. We will place an emphasis on sound judgment, fairness, self-mastery, sincerity, empathy, and order.
A key component of the moral life is friendship. In the context of Mentoring – and depending on the age of the mentee – topics such as team sports, social life, and dealing with girls will be addressed.
The human body is a gift that must be watched over. Boys will be encouraged to take care of their physical development and health by exercising, eating well, and getting sufficient sleep. Talking about these three areas with boys approaching their teen years is particularly important as they seek to exert more independence in their lives.
Mentors will also discuss participation in organized sports and school extra-curricular activities, unstructured play and recess, exercise, and use of free time.
The intellectual and moral life are the foundation of the spiritual life.
Boys will be encouraged to have a world-view where God is not just the creator but a Father who loves us dearly. In fact, this sense that each one of us is a son of God is the starting point of the life of faith.
The mentor could start with small suggestions such as making a daily visit to the chapel, praying a decade of the Rosary, reading a bit of the Gospel every day, etc. He may also encourage his boys to take advantage of the spiritual direction offered by the school chaplain, daily Mass, confession, etc.
Not every boy at Sparhawk will be Catholic. In those cases, and with great respect and tact, the mentee will be encouraged to be faithful to the practices of his family’s religion.