Jonathan Lipnicki and Tom Cruise Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images; Kevin Mazur/

Jonathan Lipnicki is lucky enough to have a pretty impressive mentor looking out for him.

Now 21, Lipnicki -- who, as a kid, melted hearts as precocious elementary schooler Ray Boyd in 1996's Jerry Maguire -- says he kept in touch with costar Tom Cruise all these years, and even sought career advice from the A-lister recently.

"We sat out on the patio to his house and talked about acting," Lipnicki told Vulture Wednesday. "He puts a lot of emphasis on being polite and manners and being on time. He said to always keep yourself busy, because then you'll always be motivated to be creative. The more you produce, the more you create, the happier you're going to be anyway."

Cruise -- who has been in the biz for over three decades now -- knows Hollywood is a tough place for a young actor trying to make his way, and Lipnicki says their recent heart-to-heart wasn't the first time the Rock of Ages star encouraged him to pursue his dreams.

"I have a poster of Mission: Impossible that he signed, 'You can be my wingman anytime,'" Lipnicki explains. "And it's one of those things that, whenever I feel down, it makes me believe in myself."