Words from the Wise (on being a Mentor)

This is the speech I gave at my Club speech contest as well as the Area 34 International Speech contest on the 26th March 2012.

It was a cool autumn afternoon. A ten year old boy stood on the playing field.  He didn’t like football but was forced to play because school sport was compulsory. He thought “I’ll stay up the back and  I won’t get hurt”.

The game progressed –  the boy skirted  around the game – but not close enough to be involved.

A mysterious figure appeared beside the boy – a man  aged in his fifties.  “Young Mister Cave! Why are you staying up the back away from the action?”.

The boy looked at the ghostly figure.  “Who are you?”

“I will tell you later. How about you run over there to the ball. You could kick a goal. Trust me – I know you can  do it”.

The boy starting running – slowly at first – then speeded up hurtling towards the ball – then gave the ball a strong kick.

He missed.

A chorus of boys shouted  ‘You idiot – Cave – you are hopeless!”.

The boy blushed and hung his head in shame.    The mysterious man  appeared again and called out,  “You are not a failure – try again – now get up there and  kick the ball – you can do it!”.    The boy took a deep breath, ran to the ball then kicked with all his might.  The ball soared into the air whooshing between the goal posts.

The boys cheered – “Good on you Cave – you did it!”

The man walked over to the boy, patted him on the back – “Well done lad – I’m the new Year 6 teacher – Mister Arthur”.

You probably guessed that boy on the sports field was me in my primary school days.   I didn’t play football after primary school but Year 6 was a turning point in my life. I was fortunate to have Mister Arthur as my Year 6 teacher – and what a great mentor he was at that time in my life.

He gave me advice on having a go.

He gave me advice on taking risks and not to be worried about failure. He said that failure is a stepping stone to success. Mr Arthur gave me advice on deflecting insults and teasing and just to laugh with others and not to take it personally.

Can you remember someone in your life who has given you support and guidance – a mentor on your life journey? There have been other great mentors in my life.

In my first job,  my manager  not only coached me in business computer systems but wine appreciation. He would give me catalogues from Tyrrells private bin wines and suggest which wines I should buy.

I had another mentor at that company – an athletic man in his early thirties who encouraged me to take up running for fitness.  I  entered the City to Surf, and eventually the Harbord Diggers marathon.   Both these men recognised my areas of growth and  helped me enrich my life .

Most well-known successful people can identify people in their lives who acted as mentors.   The worlds most famous football player, David Beckham was mentored by Bobby Charlton who played for Manchester United  nearly 20 years before Beckham was born.    David Beckham is now prominent in the world of fashion  – but who is his mentor? Recently I heard he acknowledged  his fashion mentor as  none other than a former Spice Girl – and now his wife Victoria.

One of the big satisfactions in life for me is helping others – to be a mentor. I hope that my life experience can be useful to encourage my friends, colleagues and  family member to grow and be their very best.  As my children have grown up I have been their mentor. I have mentored graduates in the workplace, and to new Toastmasters.

Think about your life experience and the problems and challenges you have faced and overcome. Imagine if your wisdom, and experience  could be shared with a younger, less experienced person?

Is there someone in your life you can help? How about a new employee in your organisation,  a family member, or  a new Toastmaster?

Share your life experience  and be a mentor.

Help another person grow and to be their very best.

Your life as well as their life will be richer with the experience.

Here is the video recording from the club contest. What I said is a bit different to the speech shown above as I hadn’t memorised all the details of the speech.

The idea of the speech was based on an article I wrote about what advice I would give my ten year old self, and from there I added my experience of mentoring.   Read  Five things I wish I knew when I was 10 years old.

You may want to visit the Facebook page for Chatswood Early Risers.


Author: charuzu

I live in Sydney and interests include music, piano playing, technology, cooking, English language, public speaking, Toastmasters, Asian culture (especially Japan and Korea), cinema, personal development, productivity and making friends with people from around the world.

2 thoughts on “Words from the Wise (on being a Mentor)”

  1. How cool is that? A well structured speech which has nice flow and good transitions from introduction to body and conclusion. Your professional writing shows! The story at the beginning captured my attention, the suspense you created had me wondering what the outcome was going to be and had me guessing if it was you or not. I was immediately interested and thought to myself this is going to be good. I wasn’t disappointed. I think if you had brought back Mister Arthur at the end then it would have rounded off the story differently and given me stronger cues you were wrapping up. Combining the story (Mister A) and the call to action at the end would have required a bit of cunning ingenuity and a big clincher for me. I suppose by introducing the call to action a bit earlier might have made that a bit easier. Perhaps something like “I wonder if you had a “Mister Arthur at school…” before you revealed that, yes it was you at school. Bringing that whole paragraph (re-worded) into the conclusion would have had me guessing right up to the end. I like what you did with the message, Charles, it was a captivating way of presenting the moral of the story and had me interested all the way though. When I finished I though, “oh, that didn’t seem long enough for a 5-7”. That’s always a good sign. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

  2. That is a very inspiring and encouraging story. I think it goes a long way to show that we can all make a difference in someone’s life. It doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment either. Just a word or two of encouragement when someone needs it most can make all the difference.


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