Some years ago when I was doing my EMBA in Human Resource Management. I loved getting up to date in the new world of today in the fields of my interest. The most intriguing was the concept of ‘Reverse mentoring.’ I loved it. I mean, the word ‘mentor’ always suggests seeking wisdom and knowledge from a person who is more experienced and naturally older than you. Yet, the word reverse mentoring, is all about learning from someone younger than yourself. This person has more knowledge in a field about which you are lessor informed.
I loved this concept. It is bound to happen with the passage of time, or not even that. Hugh Catchpole, the great teacher of English in India and Pakistan, started his teaching, in Dehradun, India, when he was very young, in his early twenties, and had students much older than himself,
In these days, the younger lot are definitely more well informed in the technical jargon of today. Let us acknowledge that we are morons, in this field! (Compared to them!)
We do ‘reverse mentoring,’ to make up for that. We can learn from our children. (They need to remember that it was us who taught them how to poop in the pot!)
Just like they say ‘charity begins at home,’ I’ll say reverse mentoring too can begin at home. Our kids are so smart now. Specially with their smart phones!
My children had a disadvantage as kids, as their Papa was always smarter than them in all technical matters as he was a computer wizard, and understood technology well. Not surprising, as he was an aero space engineer and very interested in computers at a time, when his own bosses were ‘allergic’ to the word. So, my children couldn’t take their parents for a ride. Thanks to hubby dear, I too knew a lot about computers, as I was using them while my kids were still babies. In fact I’ve been a computer teacher in a PAF School in Karachi.
But all that is besides the point. Today, my children are my mentors too. They guide me and help me in many matters. I respect their advice and suggestions, till they get carried away, and I have to literally shut them up! -Just kidding.
Each of my daughters, (who by the way, are great Influencers in their own right, on Instagram) are amazing. (I’m sure, so are yours.)
Actually, this is the beauty of this Parent-child relationship, when they all become adults and we can be friends now. As friends we can learn from each other too. Of course, this invariably ends up with squabbles and some ‘disrespectful’ comments from both ends, but it is worth it, when you are at the learning end.
So, let me tell you how each of my children are my mentors for me:
- My eldest daughter, who just visited me for two months, is a family photographer in Seattle. She manages my international donations for me. The work I do, is very much supported by my daughters who take care of different aspects of it.
- She is extremely ‘psychic’. She can see things which others can’t. Just from the tone of my voice, she can tell my mood or if things are fine here or not.
- Since she was a little kid, she has been an avid reader of books. So, naturally she has knowledge about a lot of things. A regular library member (lucky she is in USA, where one can literally borrow ninety-nine books at a time!) So, it is a pleasure talking to her about anything, as she has deep knowledge of what she is talking about.
- Our daily group phone chats, for which she makes time first thing in the morning, keep us connected.
- Yet we manage to have deeper conversations often, which lead us to topics which are pretty rare and very informative for both of us.
- Naturally, being of the tech field, (she has a BCS. Honors from FAST) and then married to a Tech Guru like Bilal who is currently working at Google, keeps her well informed.
- So, naturally, she will give me tips on how to manage technical parts of my work.
- Most of my life I’ve written in newspapers like Dawn, and The News. Nataliya became the first blogger in our family and the first photographer also. She has inspired both Waliya and myself.
- Being intelligent, and sensitive, we both need to be careful sometimes.
Nadiya Najib Khan:
She is a marketing and business guru, with an MBA degree under her belt. She made my Shireen’s Studio Facebook page, then my website – yes, this one – she manages my website too. Though from our end, Muhammad Asif helps me with any glitches. Nadiya made my Instagram, originally, and she prepared the details of charity work on Instagram so that I can stay in touch with my donors.
Her sense of humor is to die for. We just cannot help giggling and laughing when we are together. She has a way of mimicking me and do performances of each of us. This began when she would show us how her day went, on return from her College days. Now, she will mimic us and we are all in stitches.
Now, that she is about to arrive, my maid told me (she hasn’t met her,) ‘Baji, Sabir (my helper) was saying that you will have to start working properly as Nadiya Baji is very strict and makes sure the house is super clean. Is it true?’ I said, ‘yes, of course. You better start from now.’
So, she is extremely well organized. When she comes, I know she will go to each room and get it all done up nicely. That is what I love about her. She is helpful wherever she goes.
Though as a child she didn’t like reading much, but now she is a regular member of their library. Loves reading books and is also very well informed. She is an amazing blogger too. Her website is full of interesting things. www.nadiyanajib.com.
A very deep poetess, her poems are really good, though she has stopped writing them lately. As a teenager even, when she would read out a new poem to me, it often brought tears to my eyes, as happens when you come across something very beautiful or very touching.
Nadiya managed to trace out my mother’s relatives all over the world. As she had lost touch with them, specially her first cousin, Robin. In the process we found many wonderful relations in Canada, UK and South Africa.
- Waliya’s photography is what made a name for her. She made it an art and a science. I’ve loved the art in her work.
- The biggest one she taught me was to laugh in the face of my enemies. (I tried it, and it works beautifully.)
- Then she taught me how to answer a nasty remark. As an only child I’ve always fallen short in nasty words. As long as my husband was alive, he would do the needful. But now I had to learn to defend myself in words at least. So, Waliya took me under her wing. But then she had to stop, as she found I was learning too well! 😉
- Giving me tips on how to deal with clients. 😊 All my life, I’ve done jobs, so have little experience in doing some things at which she is very good. Waliya has done her own business of photography and lots more herself. So she is a good negotiator and what she says makes a lot of sense. It is amazing how people down play your creative efforts and work, while trying to use your abilities to suit their own business. What I’ve learnt in books is mainly for those who are principle centered. Most businesses aren’t so, especially in our country. Learning to manage things in this world is what Madam has taught me. I’m still learning. She is truly good at her work, and works tirelessly – literally 24/7.
- Waliya is smart and quick to make decisions. Her quick thinking gets one close to good solutions hurriedly. So, I do respect her opinion a lot. Even her sisters do.
Besides them, I’m in touch with many of my students who are now adults and have become my friends. I seek them out and they seek me out. I have great hopes from the youth of our country. We grown ups need to cheer them on, and support them. Sometimes we too need their support, and that is when we need to do this reverse mentoring, to become up to date with today’s tech world.
Building strong healthy relationships with our children, their friends and age-fellows is the key to this process.
Sorry, for taking this long to get back to you all. Hope to remain in touch. We have so much to discuss and talk about.
Stay blessed and protected. 😊