Great mentors find humor in most things. My greatest mentor, Ray Bell, was no comedian! In fact, he was a very shy man. But, he enjoyed a great tease and was as quick to laugh at himself as he was to laugh with others. His humor was innocent and authentic, never contrived or sarcastic. Most importantly, he saw lightness in simple occurrences and enchantment in ordinary events. When he laughed, his expressions were bounteous and unbridled; his declarations of joy were likewise contagious.
He intuitively knew that merriment was a key piece in the puzzle of learning. When learners encounter humor and joy in their mentors, they learn to laugh at themselves. The serious pursuit of growth must be coupled with an unserious process of growth. Ray Bell demonstrated that no matter how grave the destination, the trip needed to be a pleasurable one. He was the only teacher I ever had who could find a whimsical side to trigonometry or Charles Dickens! The byproduct of his example was my gaining an in-erasable fondness for learning. That path has enabled me to become more and more a self-directed learner…learning simply for the joy of the trip.