Her First and Always Mentor – Part I 

 March 28, 2015

By  Jana Hassett

Everyone in the world needs a mentor at every stage of their life. She never really thought about who her first (and always) mentor was until much later in life. She had so many over the years, it seemed. There was always someone who helped her get to the next stage of her life. Not all were men. In fact, her first and most impactful mentor was her mother.

It wasn’t always a relationship of love and joy, in fact were there times of downright hate. But it was that love/hate relationship that allowed her to grow and recognize how important her mother had been in her life.

She didn’t feel mentored when her older sister basically raised her while mom played in the bridge club. She didn’t feel mentored when her mother divorced her father and she was cast to the four winds (or at least that’s how she felt) when her “Pal and Buddy” left the house. She didn’t feel mentored when she became an outcast wearing thrift store clothing and had no friends while mom wore expensive suits and gadded about on weekends.
What she didn’t see was that regardless of all the emotional pain, she was so much better off than so many others. What she did’t know is she had #enough. She didn’t know that the musical talents she was given were her anchor to sanity. She could hide behind her flute and play to soothe her soul. She didn’t appreciate her warm bed and three squares. All she could see was the dysfunction of her family and her life and hate her mother for it.

It would be years before she realized that she would not have gotten to the employment levels she did without the example set by her mother. She would not know how to dress, behave or work in a professional environment without her guidance. She remembers at 14 having to “go to work” with Mom during Christmas break. There was no way this “creative child” could be left home alone. She was given the task of addressing the Law Firms Christmas Cards by hand (that’s where Mom worked). The addresses had to be lined up just so; the penmanship impeccable; the envelope perfect, while dress was skirt and nylons, voice was quiet, and comments were kept to one’s self. She hated it. But it was such good training for other mentors to send her forward.

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