Mentorship is not a lifelong commitment. Certainly, it can be, but not necessarily. You, like me, have likely had several mentors throughout your life. Though not always in a formal mentoring relationship, various men have come into my life if only for a season. I must admit, I have very seldom used the term mentor or mentorship in my life. The fact is, I have never entered into a “formal” mentorship agreement either as the mentee or mentor. Yet, I have been blessed with mentors throughout my life.
Until recent generations, mentoring historically was as commonplace in life as daily eating. For centuries the greatest education came through mentoring relationship. Mentoring was a way of life between generations. It is how things were passed down, generation to generation; skills, trades, parenting, cooking, you name it, mentoring made it happen.
Mentoring in its absolute rawness is developing another person. Think back on your life, even as a child. Who in your life were those people – other than parents – that you looked up to, whom you respected, who you learned from. For many people an aunt or an uncle was an early life mentor. Some of my uncles were. Others could have been Bible study teachers, choir leaders, sports coaches, even school teachers. A mentor can be any person who takes a personal interest in you with a desire to see you succeed.
As you entered your adult life, who were the people or person who you looked up to and respected, a person who knew you by name and perhaps took you under her/his wing without wanting anything in return? They may have been in the same profession, or not. Their objective – whether stated or not – was to help you succeed.
Can you name three of those informal mentors who have been in your adult life? Why not write their names down and this week send each one a note of thanks for being one of those informal mentors in your life?
Now let’s turn the wheel around full circle. Perhaps one of the main reasons we have a separation of generations today is because we have allowed the art of mentorship to slowly die away. Mentoring as a lifestyle- as practiced since the first two generations of humans has all but disappeared in our lifetime. You and I have the power to stop the disappearance of mentoring. It is time to think of the young people in your life. Will you list the names of three younger adults, in their twenties whom you know by name? Young adults whom you have a desire to see succeed. How could you pour into each one as a mentor beginning this week?
Let’s close the separation of generations by engaging in mentoring relationships this week.