A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
At the invitation of Professor Xi from Shanghai Jiaotong University and David, the founder of Singapore Mentorship Committee(SMC), I participated in the Youth Hiking Library (SYHL) organized by SMC twice, which are two unique experiences.
We often use the phrase "an old steed in the stable still aspires to gallop a thousand miles" to praise the ambition and aspirations of seniors. In the hiking event, the steed was placed in the mentor group because of his or her rich work and life experience. Whereas youth members who are currently studying or working form the mentee group of participants.
Hiking is a kind of walking and experiencing; as the saying goes, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step", "the first step" is the place of departure and genesis. It is also an honorific term used by ancient Chinese to refer to peers and elders. During the walk, communication and learning across different age groups manifest between and within the two groups. We set out from the same place, eschewing our respective generations and identities; nurturing and growing together in mutual dialogue.
I. The real life efficient version of "there is always someone to learn from”
The format of SYHL is very engaging and interesting. The organizer of each session will number the mentor and youth groups in advance and divide all participants into mentor-mentee pairs, and then exchange hiking partners at the end of every 1-2km.
This ensures that each participant meets as many people as possible and has as many conversations as possible in a limited amount of time. Every encounter is an opportunity to meet a new personality and communicate to learn from them.
Confucius said, "There must be a teacher for every three people we are walking with", and in the short 10 km hike where we meet five or six peers and mentors, we all expressing and receiving valuable stories and experiences with a humble heart. Indeed, this is an efficient way of learning, and I have taken away many valuable insights.
II. To stand tall, foundation is key
Young people often do not lack the knowledge to solve problems, but lack the vision to see what the problem exactly is. Being able to understand the root cause of problems is the basis for any effective solutions.
Mentors in the workplace experience a myriad of happenings. They meet different people, understand key principles, and embrace self-cultivation of their values and personalities. Growth often begins with experiencing. Having encountered many problems, Mentors have seen the real issue and the more appropriate solution subsequently. With the lesson of hindsight and learning from past experiences, we are able to make precise judgments and efficiently apply past lessons to solve problems in similar scenarios.
With the benefit of experiences, the mentor is willing to share his experience and insights. In the exchange of views, on the one hand, the mentor passes his experiences to the young people, and on the other hand, obtains new perspectives from the feedback of the young people. This further strengthens his own foundation, so as to stand taller and see further.
III. To see far, one’s horizons determine his perspectives
To stand high is to see what is in the far horizon. And in order to see further, in addition to standing tall, one needs to have a good social perspective, the so-called "horizon".
When I was in elementary school, I already knew the truth to the adage of “it takes ten years to grow a tree, but a hundred years to nurture a person". After graduating from university and working in education and facilitating international cultural exchange for nearly 20 years, I feel that every person who steps into the society from the ivory tower has a ceiling of growth and development that is determined by his or her personal vision and horizon. Horizon is a quality that is nurtured in stages. Busy with work and due to the lack of experience interacting with others in society, young people often lack the perspective to see the whole picture. Mentor's advice during the hike can help mentees to open up their perspectives.
IV. On Education
To me, Jiao Yu (education) is about sharing of experiences, as well as guiding and nurturing individuals. Through a carefully designed format and selection of guests, SYHL events plant the seeds of thinking, sharing and innovation in the hearts of young people in Singapore, building a platform for their future development. The highlight of each event is the sharing by the main speaker. They tell their own entrepreneurial stories, distill the elements of success and the crucial points of personal development, and encourage young people to start their own businesses leveraging their talents while staying true to their values. The main speakers not only share their personal experiences, but also help guide young people to shape their character through their personal growth experiences and workplace observations, so that the next generation can can achieve greater success.
SMC is committed to creating a sustainable platform for sharing of legacy and nurturing future leaders for young people from all countries and regions living and working in Singapore. SYHL is an innovative and effective event that not only provides opportunities for young people to grow, but also builds a social network for all the elites involved in the event. May the journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step, and may the Peng rise up with the wind one day, and soar up 90,000 miles.
November 24, 2022