Monday, January 28, 2013
January Is National Mentor Month
I wrote the book (The Firstborn Son: a Curse, a Gift, or a Calling) because of my desire to mentor others coming after me. I have spent several years as a youth athletic coach and have been blessed with some wonderful friendships and relationships. The youth and adults have taught me some amazing lessons. My vow to them is that I will live a life that will not bring shame to them. Especially for the youth, I will live an exemplary life that will allow them to consistently have a source of mentoring. It is amazing to hear a young man say, ―I thank you for being the consistent male figure in my life even in the tough times.
How about you? Why are you a counselor, teacher, adviser, coach, trainer, or mentor to another life? In the same breath why have you as a scholar, trainee, student, novice, or an apprentice sought the advice of another? What if mentoring was actually designed more for the mentor instead of our common assumption that it benefits the apprentice most? It is no question that a mentor gives advice to one or many who follow his/her lead, techniques, theories, and more. Yes indeed, there is an aura of blessings to be transferred from the life of the most experience or predecessor to the successor. Yet, let’s not dismiss or misplace the power of monuments.
A statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a famous or notable person or event is a monument. The mentor’s ability to teach effectively always relies on monuments of events he/she has erected in their lifetime. These moments are commemorated either to remind us never to return to the pain of such a circumstance, or embolden us for the future mountainous obstacles we are yet to encounter. These are memorials which have taught incredible personal and/or professional lessons. It is critical to remember they are simply memories which have no power to define us, especially if painful memories, noting life’s rapid changes. The life of a mentor is empowered most by the legacy and exemplary life he/she must live daily despite past failures or accomplishments. The mentor must live in the eternal now in order to make the greatest impact.
Take note of the following conversation between a mentor and his apprentice (2 Kings 2:9-10):
9 When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”10 He said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”
Elijah refused to let his mentoring impact on Elisha rest on all of the great things he had watched him (Elijah) accomplish by God’s power in the past. It all rested on assurance he would receive from God in that moment.