Mentors Matter….Pay it Forward

October 06, 2014
Mary Kim Smith

Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope were Mentors to Tony Bennett.  Mr. Sinatra told Life Magazine, “For my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business, the best exponent of a song. He excites me when I watch him – he moves me.” Mr. Hope gave Tony Bennett who called himself, Joe Barry this advice, “Look, you’re an Italian-American. What’s your real name?” Tony Bennett said, “Anthony Dominick Benedetto”.  Mr. Hopes said, “Well, That’s a little long, but why don’t we call you Tony Bennett?” Tony Bennett, told the reporter,” Bob Hope gave me my name”.

According to a segment recently on CBS Sunday Morning, at a point when she was disappointed, lonely, helpless, and full of self-doubt, Tony Bennett became Lady Gaga’s mentor.  He told her to be true to herself and never lower her standards. He is 88 years old and she is 28. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett have both grown as individuals and entertainers, because of their investment in each other. Their friendship has become a beautiful collaboration. You can find their most recent musical creation on YouTube, its magical….

Whether you and I are at beginning of our journey or have many experiences and years of wisdom, the responsibility to share our gifts and talents is something that should not be avoided. Anyone who is active in this battle has received guidance and wisdom from the mentorship of a wiser elder. My path to change the way we all view elderhood has ultimately enriched the lives of my husband, children, and grandchildren.

Those of us who have accepted the challenge to join together as Eden Associates, Eden Neighborhood Guides, Eden Educators, and Eden Mentors should agree to grow ourselves daily and seek others to help share the stories that we collect along the way. We have all received so many pearls of wisdom, educational opportunities, supportive advice, and loving encouragement over the course of our careers.

Leaders must strive to grow relationships and invest social capitol in those around us. By stepping out of our comfort zone, we allow ourselves to be exposed to fresh ideas, viewpoints, and opinions.  For the Eden Alternative or the broader Culture Change movement to grow and flourish, we must diligently seek out companions in our hometowns, churches, medical offices, civic groups, as well as the communities where we work. Our mission much be expanded to prepare as the boomer generation moves into elderhood.

Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope took the time to mentor Tony Bennett, who accepted the challenge to mentor Lady Gaga decades later. We are witnesses to the magic that occurred because they allowed themselves to give to others and pay it forward. Are we as leaders willing to see what magic might happen, if we take the time to make a real difference too?

Mary Kim Smith, RN
Peach Tree Village
Brandon, Ms.
Eden Educator/Eden Mentor Leader

Exciting News…… The Eden Mentor application process is currently being transformed to help emphasize the importance of well-being in all our lives. We will provide more information during the Eden Mentor Virtual Gathering with Dr. Bill and Jude Thomas on October 14. Stay tuned!

Read more: Frank Sinatra: Photos From the Chairman’s Private World, 1965 |

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