One of the things we talk about in our book Significant Living: A Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life is mentoring. As we get older we have an opportunity to use our experience, knowledge and maturity to make a difference in the lives of the next generation. But it’s more than just an opportunity, it’s a serious responsibility and you need to understand what mentoring is and the commitment it takes to be a real mentor. John C Crosby, an author and politician in the 30′s and 40′s said, “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” I like that, it pretty much sums it up.
Here are some things to know as you consider a mentoring ministry. (And it is a ministry.)
- Determine the commitment you can make and the amount of time you can devote to a mentoring responsibility.
- Choose your choice of a mentee carefully to be sure it’s a person who will be comfortable mentoring.
- Ask questions and establish what the person wants from you.
- Establish expectations early on so that you will both be on the same page.
- Make sure the person is willing to accept your counsel and is willing to be accountable.
- Don’t be offended if the person seeks counsel with someone else.
- Don’t hesitate to ask tough questions. It is usually the tough questions that will make the biggest difference.
- Build a relationship of mutual learning. There is something to learn from everyone we meet.
I think you can see that mentoring is a responsibility that requires a commitment of time and relationship and should not be taken lightly. But it is also an incredible opportunity for intergenerational ministry that can be offer fulfillment and meaning to your life and to the person you are mentoring. So why wait. Get started.