Reposted from Radical Mentoring
- Courage – Most of the time, men know the right things to do. Call it conscience, call it intuition, call it whatever . . . more often than not our challenge isn’t knowing what to do as it is mustering the courage to do it and live with the consequences. Which is why a man needs a mentor to stand behind him and say, “Hey, you’ve made a good decision. You’re on the right track!” “I’m proud of you.” “I love the Godly man you’re becoming.” This kind of encouragement propels a man who’s on the right track to stay on it . . . to go farther faster.
- Wisdom – Many of the decisions men wrangle with don’t have right or wrong answers. Some of them have consequences that will be felt by your children and your children’s children. Questions around marital fidelity and divorce, financial responsibility and debt, parents, in-laws, your children’s education, career progression and relocation of your family . . . ‘big stuff’ issues. A mentor, because of his age and experience, provides a source of wisdom that can’t be found anywhere else because he knows you. And he’s already made most of the decisions you’ll face himself at an earlier time in his life. Sometimes he made them well, sometimes he didn’t. But he has experience and that’s an important source of wisdom.
- Objectivity – We men get so intense, so proud, so focused, so “caught up” in what we’re doing, we lose sight of the bigger picture. When we have problems; at work, at home, at church, with the kids, with our siblings or in-laws, we sometimes struggle to see things clearly. A mentor offers a safe place to air it out . . . where we can unload and not be afraid of having things thrown back in our face. A mentor is someone who can listen, empathize, relate and commiserate with you. He’s going to ask you the questions you were too emotional to ask. He’ll ‘play the tape’ back to you, helping you sort out what’s important and what’s not, what’s fact vs. what’s emotion, and what are the likely outcomes of different decision alternatives.
- His network – As we make our way through life, we meet people from all kinds of industries, from all levels within the hierarchies of organizations, and people who perform all kinds of services. But it takes years for networks to become robust. Mentors enjoy tapping into their relationships to help the younger guys they mentor. It only cost them a little time . . . a quick email or phone call and a door is opened. And as the younger guy’s network gets wider and deeper faster, that empowers him to be a more helpful mentor as he starts to pay it forward.
- Loneliness – No matter how many golfing buddies, hunting buddies, or bowling buddies, when we get down to it, men are sort of lonely. When a man has a mentor, he’s got someone who has perspective on life’s questions. Mentors don’t have all the answers . . . no one does. And loneliness isn’t solved by countless hours of two humans being physically together. But it’s greatly relieved when a man knows that he has a mentor who cares about him. Knowing that his mentor is accessible; that he’s “safe” to talk with, and just knowing that someone is there who understands the deal makes the loneliness less lonely.
Scripture: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)