A Case For Mentors

DSC03713I’d like to make a case for mentors.

I’ve been lucky enough to have mentors through both middle school and high school. They played pivotal roles in my life and my development into a young woman. They were people who were leaders in the youth group, small group leaders, or teachers at school who truly believed in me. A mentor does not have to be this religious person who guides you in your spiritual life. In fact, that sounds almost “cultish”.  Yet, for me, the most influential mentors were those who shared the same beliefs as me and challenged me to let my beliefs bleed into all areas of my life.

But you don’t have to be a Christian to have a mentor.

I’m sure you knew that. I just wanted to make sure that was clear.

When I think of a mentor, certain people come to mind. There was Nicole who guided my middle school self through the thorns and briers of middle school life. Then there was Kristy who befriended a lowly freshman trying to mix in the crowd. And then there were ten or so in between who mentored me while I was in their lives. Each one cared deeply about me and wanted nothing more than the best for me. Yet, the true mentors asked the hard questions. They saw through my acts and masks. They challenged me and looked out for me.

Those were the real mentors.

I know that I am one of the fortunate few who has been able to have so many caring people in my life. Yet, I see our youth today and my heart aches for them. I desperately want them to be open to a mentor and for a mentor to be open to living life with them. I remember feeling very alone during those pivotal years of middle school and high school. I just wanted someone to accept and love me for who I was. Not saying that my parent’s didn’t do that. I just longed for someone other than them to tell me I was OK.

So in actuality, I am making a case for mentors for our young people.

In a culture and society that seems to be degrading by the year, I often wonder what this next generation will be like. Will they be self-indulged, narcissistic people? Or will they break that mold and stand for others?  I believe that the right mentor could be key to generating this change. Ultimately it would be up to the kid to decide how to live. But during those key points for me, I wanted nothing more than to listen and trust my mentor.

My mentor was someone who wasn’t going to leave me on a whim.

My mentor was someone who deeply cared for me and wanted what was best for me.

My mentor was someone who broke the mold of advice; she didn’t sound like she was reading a script prepared ahead of time.

My mentor was someone who felt like family.

My mentor was someone who was vulnerable.

My mentor was someone who helped mold me into the person I am today.

So I’d like to make a case for mentors.

They are more than fine ideas, people that get put on the “someday” list.

They are life changers.

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