Meet Mentor Alton Ramsey, a Spiritual and Life Guide
I sat down over coffee with poet and personal mentor, Alton Ramsey, to talk about the art of being a spiritual and life guide to others.
Dorian: What’s your background?
Alton: Being born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, by a single parent provided a first-hand view of the ongoing struggle of life as an African American. It helped me to see the many different avenues and possibilities that can lead to success or failure as a Black man.
Dorian: How does it work? Does a mentor choose a mentee or vice versa?
Alton: Mentorship chooses you. It’s up to the individual whether he/she accepts the honour/ responsibility of helping another person to succeed. Success is usually brought about by sharing the “truth” about one’s experiences and knowledge. My belief is nothing happens by coincidence in God’s World. Many of us are not aware of the importance of mentorship because too often we think we can do it alone.
Dorian: You have taught me a lot with regards to intention, self-reflection, and spiritual discernment.
Alton: Additionally, I’d like to think you consider me as friend, stopper, and motivator. One of my mentors expressed the importance of having someone in your life (beyond family) who can stop you and have you pull over to the side of the road without question. Having someone you count on as a motivator in good and bad times is paramount these days, but to also call that person a friend nurtures the learning idea on both sides.
Dorian: Is mentorship for every one?
Alton: I believe everyone receives some form of mentorship (i.e. family member in passing, friend, teacher) but many struggle with the idea of mentoring because they think they’re not good enough, or they’re too consumed with their own paths.
Dorian: What made you take on the role of mentor?
Alton: As I said earlier, mentorship chose me. From an earlier age, I’ve always had the willingness to reach out to others, share or pass along the blessings that had been so freely given me.
Dorian: Have you yourself been mentored?
Alton: Yes! Many of my greatest blessings and lessons learned were handed down by mentors. The early years were a challenge because I struggled to see the big picture of things being served. But at some point the light bulb came on for me, as I noticed and paid more attention to the things that were happening to me and around me.
Dorian: Where do you see yourself five, ten years from now?
Alton: Had you asked me the same question five years ago, living in the Middle East would not be any part of my answer, and the fact that God granted us the greatest gift of Morgan Iman, my daughter, in the same place after many years of fervent prayer, has totally changed the way I look at the future. Having said that, my current vision is to become reunited with family and friends back home in Georgia where we want to continue the blessing of teaching.
Dorian: I love the priority you put on family! You are also a poet?
Alton: Poetry, is another one those avenues that chose me. I am friends and mentor to a pastor, Jamie Groover, in the USA who was a poet before assuming ministry on behalf of his father. Though I’ve never considered myself a poet until recently, it is something I believe in, and I hope that young people will someday take that torch forward. I like to write pieces that serve this ideal, and I also believe that laughter is good medicine.
Dorian: (Sees waiter approaching with check) On the note of pieces, I will bid you peace and blessings. Good speaking to you. I have to go.
Alton: (Blank stare)