Tuesdays with Morrie-Mentor and Mentee Relationship
A few days back, a student of mine gifted a book to me ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ Yesterday I had a strong urge to read after a long time and I just picked this book. And lo it was all about mentor-mentee relationship which is my favourite topic these days.
Morris (the teacher and mentor) understood his young and impassioned mentee Mitch and helped him see the world as a more profound place and gave him sound advice to guide his way through it. And then Mitch got busy with his career and forgot his mentor. But then they were brought together. The last class took with Morris on his deathbed and the subject was the meaning of life. No books were used and it was taught from experience.
I would like to share some extracts with all of you.
1 When Morris discovered he had a fatal illness he told his students,
“My friends I assume you are all here for the Social Psychology class. I have been teaching this course for twenty years and this is the first time I can say that there is a risk in taking it, because I have a fatal illness. I may not live to finish the semester.” He smiled and added “If you feel this is a problem, I understand if you wish to drop the course.”
2 Morris invited his friends and family for a living funeral.
“Each of them spoke and paid tribute to the old professor. Some cried. Some laughed. And all the heartfelt things that we never get to say to those we love, Morris said that day. His living funeral was a rousing success.”
3 Morrie tells his student to ask him important questions of life
“Have you found someone to share your heart with?”
“Are you giving to your community?”
“Are you at peace with yourself?”
“Are you trying to be as human as can be?”
4 On culture and rat race
“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We are teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own sub-culture. The little things like red lights I can obey. But the big things-how we think, what we value-those you must chose yourself. You can’t let anyone or any society-determine those for you.”
“I don’t believe in running away from America (and its culture). Every society has its own problems. The way to do it is not to run away but create your own culture.”
5 On the tension of opposites
“Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing but you are bound to do something else, Something hurts you, yet you know it should not. You take certain things for granted even when you know you should not take anything for granted. A tension of opposites like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.”
6 On silence
“Morrie enters the class and does not speak for fifteen minutes. He looks at us and we look at him. And slowly a discussion begins about the effect of silence on human relations. Why are we embarrassed by silence? What comfort do we get in all the noise?”
7 On emotions and detachment
“Take any emotion-love for a woman, grief for a loved one or fear and pain of deadly illness. Throw yourself into the emotion, allow yourself to dive in all the way. Experience fully and completely. You know what pain is..what love is..what grief is. Then you can say I recognise that emotion. I have experienced it and now i need to detach from it.”
8 Fear of aging
“As you grow you learn more. Ageing is not just decay, it is also growth. The young are not wise. They have little understanding about life. Embrace ageing.”
9 On love and marriage
“There is no formula to relationships. They have to be negotiated in loving ways, with room for both parties, for what they want and what they need, what they can do and what their life is like. Love is when you are as concerned about someone else’s situation as you are about your own.”
“There are few rules I know to be true about love and marriage. If you don’t respect the other person, you are gonna have lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you are gonna have lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you are gonna have lot of trouble. And if you don’t have common set of values in life, you are gonna have lot of trouble. And the biggest of those values is your belief in the importance of your marriage.”
10 On deathbed
“Ted this disease is knocking at my spirit. But it will not get my spirit. It will get my body. It will certainly not get my spirit.”
“On the front page were my pencilled comments scribbled to Morrie and beneath them were his comments scribbled back. Mine began ’Dear Coach’ His began ‘Dear Player’ Have you really had a teacher who saw you as a raw but precious thins, a jewel thatv with wisdom could be polished to a proud shine. Have you ever really had a teacher?”