Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lend a Helping Hand

Leather Tradition: Mentoring
by Ben, N.C.Master

Lately I have been reading and discussing much about Leather Traditions. One tradition I would like to see used more frequently is mentoring. My journey into this lifestyle was before the internet and the early days of the internet. I look back and recognize that I was very fortunate to have had many mentors along the way. I recognized that I wanted to learn things and the best way to do that is to learn from those that are successful at the things I wanted to learn. I was a student and they were the teachers.

I also learned early on that dominants are not the only ones that can be mentors. I found some submissives that were very knowledgeable and willing to share their knowledge. I realized that if I were to understand the mindset of the submissive I needed to learn things from their perspective. It is also important to understand that the gender of the dominant or submissive has no bearing on what you can learn from them. I find it amusing at times when I hear novice dominants talking about they have their own way and do not need others to teach them how to be a good dominant and I learned that when a dominant is seeking knowledge from a submissive, it works best when the dominant takes on the mantle of learning and leaves the dominant cover on the side for the time.

From My understanding of the Leather Traditions, mentoring was very much the path traveled. Novice dominants and submissives would seek out experienced people and petition them to become a mentor. The relationship between the mentor and the mentee can be in many forms. It can be short term for simple things like learning a specific skill (using a flogger, formal tea service, Boot Blacking, etc.) For the more complex things, mentoring usually takes longer. It is not uncommon for a good mentoring relationship to last for years.

When we try to live this lifestyle daily, we often face issues that are new or difficult to get a good perspective within our own experience. The outside eye of the mentor can often suggest ways and means to successfully deal with these new issues. That is not to say that the mentor can always give you a canned solution, but may offer ways to work toward a solution.

Dominants really need to learn that submissives can be very good mentors as well. My understanding of the Old Guard, is that Senior slaves out ranked junior dominants in the over all hierarchy. Submissives should never be considered as inferior in knowledge or experience just because they are submissive. For a novice dominant to think He/She knows it all just because they are dominant is a serious mistake.

Submissives also need to seek out mentors from both other submissives and dominants. Spending time with other submissives can and should be a learning experience. You can learn attitudes, understanding, skills, and philosophies. From other dominants you can learn perspectives, attitudes, skills and understanding. Knowledge is the end goal of learning..

I would highly recommend that we all seek out mentors, whether for a short term skill set of for longer term lifestyle issues. I also suggest that those with the knowledge and skills be open to becoming a mentor. Helping a novice grow and mature within the lifestyle is necessary for the traditions to be continued. It also helps to keep ourselves active and learning. Remember the mantra… Each One Teach One.
Ben is a Leather Lifestyle Dominant married to his slave/wife, and been active in the lifestyle for over 20 years. They are very active in the local and regional BDSM community, host several groups in their home, and do demos and presentations throughout the southeast on BDSM and M/s D/s Relationships. He is a former Board Member of Capex.


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