As a continuation of last week’s post, I thought it would be fun to look at some of my favorite fictional mentors from popular movies. Don’t be fooled, there’s a lot we can learn from the mentors we find in fiction. They tell us about what we love and admire in those that we look up to, as well as what traits we should seek to develop in ourselves as leaders. Here goes the list:
#7 – Uncle Ben, Spiderman
Even though it seems like Uncle Ben was a seemingly minor character in the Spiderman story, he plays a crucial role in Spiderman’s character development. You might best know him for his memorable statement to a young Peter Parker: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Uncle Ben teaches us that great mentors always have a way of teaching unchanging truths in forgettable ways.
#6- Mr. Miyagi, Karate Kid
In the Classic Karate Kid movie, Daniel LaRusso learned how to wax on and wax off before he ever learned to throw a punch. Mr. Miyagi shows us that sometimes the best lessons are ones we learn before we even know we’ve learned them. Great mentors have a knack for teaching in the most untraditional ways.
#5- Morpheus, The Matrix Trilogy
The best mentors see things in us that we don’t even see in ourselves. That is what Morpheus was for Neo. When everyone –including Neo–thought that he was just an ordinary person, Morpheus believed that Neo was the One. It’s great to have leaders in our lives who see in us what we are too scared to see in ourselves.
#4- Professor X, The X-men (Film series)
Charles Xavier always had a way of bringing out the best in his students. He believed that everyone he worked with had the potential to do what was right, even people who were outright bad. Good mentors challenge us to see our potential to accomplish great things even when we see only opportunity to do mediocre things.
#3- Obi-Wan Kenobi & Yoda, Star Wars Series
Obi-Wan and Yoda played very integral roles in training up young Luke Skywalker at different points in his life. While Luke certainly would’ve liked to have them around for longer, they remind us of the seasonal nature of mentors. Great mentors don’t have to mentor you for a lifetime to have a lifelong impact.
#2- Morgan Freeman (in pretty much any movie)
While this one is a little bit tongue-in-cheek, it’s pretty clear that Freeman plays a lot of “mentor-type” roles in his movies. From Shawshank, to Batman, to even The Lego Movie, his characters always tend to have a lot of wisdom to dispense. He reminds us that great mentors are wise counselors, whose voice of wisdom always comes at the most opportune occasions.
#1- Gandalf, The Lord of The Rings & Hobbit Trilogies
Any character that is the driving force behind 6 Peter Jackson films deserves to be first on a whole bunch of lists. Seriously though, Gandalf challenged everyone from hobbits to humans to risk their lives for a cause greater than their own. Great mentors challenge us to take great risks, in hopes of one day experiencing great rewards. A key take away is that Gandalf not only challenged his mentees to take the risk, he was with them every step of the way!
So there is my list! Let me know what you thought. Who would you’ve added or taken away?