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Forming Others: What Mentoring Can and Can’t Be

In his address to the Forum’s Mentoring Workshop held in June, our Head of Lower School Colin Gleason helpfully reframed just what mentoring is—and what it can’t be. Though images of the sculptor, the director, and the master often accompany this rough term of “formation,” Mr. Gleason reminds us that we are really more akin to gardeners, who attend to a living creation with its own freedom and will. So, how can we appreciate this situation and best work with it for the good of our mentees?


  • 1:29 Neither the model nor the molder
  • 3:39 We cannot ‘do’ the formation
  • 5:56 Freedom to choose the good
  • 10:19 “Thou mayest” (not thou shalt) “triumph over sin”
  • 15:54 Exercising freedom requires formation
  • 16:49 Manners: what the act looks like
  • 18:57 Reasons: the intention behind the act
  • 21:38 Images: how a person chooses the act
  • 23:36 A mentor as such an image
  • 25:49 Loving the good
  • 29:51 Loving the person


Also on the Forum:

About the Guest

Colin Gleason

Head of Lower School, The Heights School

Colin Gleason serves as Head of the Lower School at The Heights, where he graduated in 1999. After college, he returned to his alma mater where he has taught a variety of classes: 3rd Grade Homeroom; Natural History; Chess; Storytelling; and currently, Moral Theology in the Upper School. He served four years as the Director of Admissions before taking on his current position as Head of the Lower School in 2010, overseeing his beloved Valley where he began as a student. Colin has also served as the Head Varsity Soccer Coach since 2010, and has been named Coach of the Year by the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and All Met Coach of the Year by the Washington Post. During the summer, Colin directs The Heights Soccer Camp and The Dangerous Camp for Boys. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Classics from Washington and Lee University and a Master of Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Nicole, and their five children live in Kensington.

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