Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Mentorship as demonstrated in Good Will Hunting and Tuesdays With Morrie

         The majority of people have a person they look up to in their lives and consider to be a mentor, and/or play the role of a mentor in someone else’s life. The relationship that develops during mentorship is not only one in which knowledge is passed on and learned, but also one in which a more personal and emotional bond is created. Having a mentor in your life can influence you to overcome challenges or follow a dream that is important to you.

The role of mentorship is displayed in a variety of media including the film Good Will Hunting, written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and the memoir Tuesdays With Morrie, written by Mitch Albom. Throughout my life to date I have had many different people from family, teachers and friends who have mentored me to become the person I am today. No matter what stage you are in in your life, the role of mentoring or being mentored is an important aspect that can affect and change your life forever. 

During the movie Good Will Hunting, you see how the relationship between Sean Maguire and Will Hunting progresses and how mentoring plays a big role in drastically changing Will’s life. As a child, Will dealt with the struggles of having no parents and being mistreated in many different foster homes. Throughout his childhood he never had a strong mentor who loved him and pushed him to achieve his dreams. Luckily for Will, he is highly intelligent and is self taught, but sadly, he doesn’t see the need to pursue any goals or develop meaningful relationships.

While Will is working as a janitor at MIT in Boston, a professor by the name of Gerald Lambeau notices how smart Will is, after Will quickly solves a difficult math problem. When Will is faced with jail time for assaulting a man who bullied him as a child, Professor Lambeau makes an agreement with Will, giving Will the choice to either take jail time, or study mathematics under Lambeau’s supervision, while seeing a therapist weekly. The last thing Will wants to do with his time is see a therapist, but thankfully he agrees and begins the weekly sessions. After Will fails to take the meetings with different therapists seriously, he is introduced to Sean Maguire, played by Robin Williams.

Maguire also has his own emotional baggage to deal with, after losing his wife and soul mate to cancer. He begins to teach and inspire Will to reevaluate and strengthen his relationships, for example with his friends and his girlfriend Skylar. Will is inspired when Sean begins to explain about the night he met his wife and how he gave up his ticket to a World Series baseball game to meet with her. Sean shows no regrets for giving up his ticket to a once in a lifetime game, or for the final years of marriage while his wife was battling cancer. Will can not believe what Sean gave up, but in time Sean encourages him to see the importance of building a stronger relationship with his girlfriend Skylar. After several therapy sessions, Will and Sean’s relationship grows stronger and Will begins to really look up to Sean as a role model and friend. By the end of the film, the change in Will is dramatic. Before therapy, he never imagined himself in a relationship and was too afraid of commitments, but because of Sean’s inspiration, Will ends up turning down many great job offers to “see about a girl”. Finally, Will learns how important relationships are to have in your life and he accepts love for the first time.

In the memoir Tuesdays With Morrie, the aging Morrie also focuses on teaching the importance of giving and accepting love to his former student Mitch, thereby illustrating another great example of true mentorship. Mitch has a connection like no other with his professor Morrie during University but in later years, they stop seeing each other. Then, when Mitch is older and working as a journalist, he is shocked to see his old professor on Nightline television diagnosed with ALS and only having a short time left to live. Mitch is saddened by this news and decides he must go visit Morrie and rekindle their friendship. When Mitch and Morrie encounter one another again, Morrie is so pleased to see his former student and they decide to meet every Tuesday like they used to in University.

Mitch is stuck at a point in his life where he is on strike at work and he’s unhappy with his everyday life. He is depressed and lost, and through questioning Morrie about his life experiences, Mitch in helped to overcome his troubles. Like Will, Mitch has some issues with relationships. Before he starts meeting with Morrie, Mitch seldom talks about his wife in the memoir. While reading, you begin to wonder what their relationship is like, because marriage surely isn’t Mitch’s top priority in life. Mitch also struggles in the relationship with his brother who moves to Spain because he is suffering from pancreatic cancer and doesn’t want his family to be involved. The bond and friendship that Morrie and Mitch shared years before is only strengthened when they meet up again, demonstrating the value of a teacher’s mentorship to his student.

I have had many people in my life that I have looked up to, including my mom. My mom plays a huge role in mentoring me by pushing me every day to follow my passions in life and think about the future. She has taught me to appreciate everyone and everything around me and take nothing for granted, which I am very grateful for. I am so lucky to have someone in my life who genuinely cares about my well being and future, especially when I realize that many individuals do not have a stable mentor in their lives. I can’t imagine growing up without all the opportunities my mom has given me for example great schools, sports, music lessons, and most importantly a safe and loving home. My mom inspires me to be all that I can be each day and I hope one day to be just like her for my children.

In conclusion, there will always be at least one person whom you consider to be a mentor in your life, and hopefully you will be a mentor to one or more people. The role of mentorship is very important for many reasons as demonstrated in Good Will Hunting and Tuesdays With Morrie. The bond that is created, and the trust, friendship and life lessons learned are shown to be invaluable in shaping the lives of both the mentee and the mentor. 

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