The ability to socialize well in the society remains as one of the most important aspect of human life. In line with this, it is expected that as a person grows up he or she is poised to develop extensive social skills that are meant to enable such a person to relate well with other people and thus be in a position to fit in the society. Nevertheless, studies and researches that have been carried out in the past reveal that the ability to develop social skills that entails a person’s learning ability are often nurtured by the environment within which a person is living in. In other words, the environment in which a person lives in as he or she grows up greatly affect the development or rather learning of social skills that such a person needs to possess in order to live as a whole human being in the society. As a result, whereas the role of mentors, teachers and advisors, might be taken lightly in a person’s social development, it plays a vital role in regard to this person’s healthy social development.
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With this in mind, this essay will examine the importance of advisors, mentors and teachers in personal development and growth by reflecting on the life of ‘Will Hunting’ in the film Good Will Hunting (The Internet Movie Database 1997). To mention shortly, this is a film based on the life of Will Hunting, a 20 year old janitor who works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Remarkably, he is an orphan who spends most of his childhood at foster homes whereas he was mistreated and physically abused. More important is the fact that he is a genius in mathematics, a factor that enables him to meet intelligent professors of mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a therapist who helps him to rediscover himself.
In reference to Jarvis and Griffin (2003), mentors it seems, have something to do with growing up, with development of identity (107). In line with this, it is important to note that the director of the film Good Will Hunting captures the life of a young man who had lost his identity as a young man while under the cruel care in foster home. It can be argued that one’s identity is altered when he or she is abused during childhood years. As a result, most people who go through such traumatic experiences often lose focus of their lives and instead work on deviating away from what they are expected to accomplish in their lives and the society in general. In this regard, whereas these people would portray deviant behaviors in their adult life after having gone through such situations, Will on the other hand depicts deviant behaviors in regard to his career and personal life.
However, while this might be the case, all is not lost. Nonetheless, this depends on a person finding the right person to guide him and bring his life back on track. Mentors can be able to do this. For this reason, mentors play a critical role in bringing the life of a person back on track. According to Jarvis and Griffin (2003), mentors are especially important at the beginning of people’s careers or at crucial turning points in their professional lives (108). Following this argument, the life of Will turns around when the MIT professor comes into his life after Will solved a mathematical problem. In essence, the professor of mathematics at MIT sees the potential or rather the talent that Will has with figure, he purposes to help him to utilize it. There are different aspects or rather characteristics of mentors that are important. To begin with, mentors need to be in a position to identify the potential in the person they intend to guide. With this in mind, the professor at MIT was able to capture the fact that Will was a genius in mathematics and needed help in order to nurture this ability (Matt Damon & Ben Affleck 1997).
In addition to understanding the potential in a person, a mentor needs to have a persistent character that will not give up when the person he or she is mentoring fails to get everything right the first time they interact. Instead, mentors need to be knowledgeable and supportive (Hartley and McKeachie 147). In this respect the director of the film Good Will Hunting accurately captures the characteristics of an excellent mentor in the society. Notably, the director of this film manages to bring out the exact characters that any successful mentor need to have in order to leave a lasting impact in the person he or she mentoring. To begin with, he portrays the MIT professor as a person that is dedicated or rather committed to ensuring that Will was able to come to his senses and utilize the talent he had in mathematics. On the other hand, whereas Sean faced a lot of challenges in dealing with Will, he manages to impact Will’s life by helping him to find his identity.
It can therefore be said that mentorship plays a critical role in the development of social and professional life of a person. As a result, the film Good Will Hunting manages to express the need for a person to have a mentor in life in order to be able realize the potential that lies in him or her. More important is the fact that the film categorically reveals the type of characteristics that a mentor needs in order to leave a lasting impact in the person he or she is mentoring. In addition, this film portrays the fact that when a person does not have his or her identity in the society, he cannot relate well in every area of his life.
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