Great post topic, Healingtouch!
My definition of a mentor is a person who takes responsibility willingly to help another person along life's pathway whether in a personal setting, or in a professional setting.
Mentoring is a great benefit and comes in handy for me as a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a grandmother, a friend, and as a nurse.
The characteristics/qualifications of a good mentor are: a) not being afraid to bare one's soul if by doing so, another person is helped from it, b) one who has patience to allow the one being mentored to grow in his/her own time according to what they are capable of absorbing at any given time [we don't all grow at the same rate], c) one who is comfortable being taught as well as being comfortable teaching what one is taught, d) a mentor is only as good as their best pupil, so those who mentor others should never feel as if they have "arrived" and can't continue to be mentored themselves, d) a really good mentor is loving, kind, gentle, meek, compassionate, and understanding, e) a mentor is not rude, arrogant, judgmental, but is capable of giving constructive criticism so as not to stop the one being mentored from learning and growing.
Yes, it is possible to be a mentor and receive mentoring via emails received from one's favorite person, or from a stranger of strong and good character. One can also mentor or be mentored via listening to tapes by someone who has the ability to draw others to themselves with their caring and compassionate hearts.
My experiences with mentors has been nothing but positive!
I can't recall any negative experiences at all.
Mentoring is not a lost art in today's society. I have mentors in my life today, and I am also a mentor to others today.