Merge's Blog

Everyone needs a role model or mentor

In December 2004, a frightened baby hippo became an orphan as a result of a devastating tsunami that swept the shores of Kenya.  Stranded on a coral reef, he was ultimately rescued, and since there was no way to return him to the wild, he was placed in Haller Park Sanctuary in Mombasa.  Scared and frightened, and no doubt searching for his mother, little Owen got close and comfortable with a grumpy 130-year old Aldabra giant tortoise called Mzee.  Perhaps Mzee’s round shape and gray colour reminded Owen of his mother.  At first, the tortoise wanted nothing to do with the hippo, but Owen persisted.  Eventually, the bond between hippo and tortoise strengthened and two became inseparable.  They roused each other for meals, spent hours wallowing in the pond together, and snuggled up side by side each night.  In fact, for a while, Owen behaved more like a tortoise than a hippo.  He ate tortoise food, such as leaves and carrots (and ignored the grasses that hippos normally eat).  He slept at night, not during the day as wild hippos do.  In March 2007, concerned about unintended injury, Owen was moved to another enclosure with a new female hippo, Cleo.  The story ended well as Mzee soon got over losing Owen, and Owen and Cleo went on to become the best of friends.

All of which just goes to show you that everyone needs a role model or mentor in their lives!  Someone to follow and emulate, someone with whom to gain self-confidence and self-assurance, and someone who will let you go when the time is right.  Are you a role model and mentor to your employees, particularly your younger ones?  What are you doing to be help your employees gain confidence?  Do tell.

4 thoughts on “Everyone needs a role model or mentor

  1. It is, isn’t it David. What I like best is that the tortoise was a reluctant mentor at the beginning, but later, I bet he enjoyed it just as much as hippo did!

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