When I was 24 I didn’t even understand what the word mentor meant let alone how to find one. Flash forward 20ish years and I find myself mentoring a handful of young men through various stages in their lives. Sometimes it’s more counseling than mentoring others it’s more directing than mentoring and then there’s the few who I really spend time on.
As we prepared for the re:create cruise I was thinking about what I wanted to ask Michael Hyatt. I knew he leads a group and they started by using the Mentor Like Jesus framework. So I thought I’d ask him to reflect back when he was 24 and give his advice on how to identify a mentor. His answer surprised me…
He didn’t know. But he had a suggestion on where to start looking for the answer. Which his blog has several good resources.
Then I asked Ken Davis. Ken gave a brief explanation of his theory of why there’s a mentoring gap today. He told me (and it makes a lit of sense) that prior to the industrial revolution young men were mentored by their fathers in the trade that their father was in. Hence Jesus was a carpenter. And after the IR, this changed. Men left home for factory jobs and the father/son mentor relationship was lost. When I pressed him for an answer, he too didn’t know.
I was dumbfounded by both of their answers. Obviously I didn’t know, but I expected these two men, whom I greatly admire, to have an answer. As I have reflected on this, I realized that to find a mentor a young man has to be searching for one. Most guys 24 years old are not mature enough to be willing to find, engage and act on the advise of a mentor. The other side of the equation is the mentors. There aren’t many guys willing to step up into the role. The reasons are many and as good/lame as you can think of.
- I went through the school of hard knocks, so should they.
- I don’t have the time to spend on some young kid who doesn’t care.
- I don’t have anything to offer.
- I’m not a leader.
I have mentored teens and young men for several years now. I have said all the above statements, but I didn’t let that stop me. I love young men. Their energy and attitudes are infectious. They will bring a smile to my face even during the worst of times.
What Ken said really hit me hard. I’m a father. I know several fathers. Some do a great job of mentoring their sons. Others of us just try to get by and do the best we can. If you’re a father, you owe it to your wife and kids to be the mentor they deserve. Don’t know what to do? Start my checking out resources on-line. Talk to your youth pastor for ideas. Most importantly if you do nothing else, spend time with your kids. Doesn’t matter what it is, just do it.
If you had the chance right now today, who do you think could go far with just a bit of guidance? What stopping you from reaching out and offering your help?