As the sun begins to peek over the horizon, I step outside onto a small patch of grass with my dogs at my side. The crisp morning air fills my lungs as I take a deep breath and open the door to their abode, allowing them to greet the new day.

We embark on our morning ritual of stretching our bodies together. I reach towards the heavens, feeling the stretch in my arms and shoulders while my furry companions follow suit, playfully mimicking my movements. We move on to our legs, stretching our hamstrings and calves, adding unique twists and turns. Dogs do stretches for various reasons, including warming up muscles, increasing blood flow, relieving tension, and maintaining flexibility.

Beyond these physical benefits, I felt deep gratitude and appreciation for their lessons. With their soft, glowing eyes and the occasional tilt of their heads, they gave me the gift of reciprocity and the desire to pay it forward.

Last Saturday, as I watched my dogs move with ease and grace, I realized that they have accompanied me through difficult times. They have ascertained the value of slowing down and taking a moment to appreciate the beauty around, be present in the moment, and breathe.

As I ventured out for a walk later that day, a sense of peace and contentment washed over me. Strolling down a narrow alleyway, lost in thoughts until the back-and-forth sound of two boys kicking a worn-out football caught my attention.

We all noticed an old man sitting on his porch, watching the boys intently as the ball flew to his yard. One of the boys requested the return of their ball. The old man said he did not want them playing around his compound lest they damage his property. He insisted they find somewhere else to play. The boys grumbled and kicked the dirt, clearly unhappy with the old man's decision since they had nowhere else to play around there.

With a sigh, the old man apologised, stating that it was not his problem and they would have to figure it out. The boys reluctantly walked away, disappointed and frustrated, as their game of football was cut short.

A sudden bolt of recognition hit me like a flash of lightning as I approached his gate. This was not any grey-haired soul but my comrade from college, with whom I graduated from the same department during the days of yore when the world was young and brimming with possibility.

However, it had been ages since our paths last crossed, and I had pondered what could have become of him. A sense of eagerness and expectancy enveloped me as I knocked on the gate. A weathered figure exuded a glistening gleam in his eye and a smile lingering on his lips as the gate slowly swung open.

Meeting my college friend after a prolonged period felt like stepping into a time machine. The second I locked eyes with him, memories inundated my mind, making it appear that no time had passed. We shared laughter and reminisced about our bygone days, catching up on all the years we missed. It was an otherworldly experience, akin to reconnecting with a part of my past that I believed to be lost forever.

Seeing him again triggered thoughts of who I used to be and how much I had transformed since then. It was a bittersweet moment that I will carry with me forever. Because this old soul had once been fixated on finding a mentor for his professional journey- an idea that eluded me at that time but has now seeped into my veins like a contagious disease. And I knew then that I had stumbled upon one of my mentors.

I convinced my friend with a concept that spans beyond human interaction; reciprocity.

With some persuasion, he agreed to challenge the boys to a game of football in a lighthearted way with the elderly man praising the boys and recommending a future meet-up at the close of their friendly game. He undoubtedly left the youngsters flabbergasted as they recalled what ensued.

Offering valuable advice, he encouraged them not to kick the ball too hard to avoid disturbing the neighbourhood and have a longer playtime- leading to joy and excitement for everyone.

Children, especially young boys, play football because it is fun, challenging and exciting. It helps develop positive social skills and respect for others, building self-confidence, a positive self-image and self-worth. All they need is guidance on how to use their skills wisely.

Essentially, mentors are pivotal to our personal and professional development, facilitating our navigation of life's tumultuous circumstances before ushering towards success.

The power of their personal anecdotes is indisputable. As the self-visualization of daily occurrences, no matter how little they may look; they are a treasure trove of wisdom and knowledge that stems from the valuable experiences of individuals who have traversed paths.

These accounts offer us unrivalled guidance, support, and encouragement, essential ingredients to help us surmount obstacles while pursuing our dreams effectively.

They infuse a sense of accountability within, constantly challenging us to raise our bars and strive for excellence. Through them, we can receive constructive feedback that aids in our growth as individuals by learning from our mistakes. Their sage advice serves as a wellspring of inspiration and motivation that inspires us to transcend perceived limitations thrust upon us by life's varying situations.

The profundity of their illustrations infuses us with a deep-seated conviction that we can leverage our lives to attain the best version of ourselves.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 15,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1198]

Tadesse Tsegaye (, a polyglot with experience in multicultural-cum-institutional settings in resources management.

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