A few of the guys I’ve mentored have gotten their feelings hurt because I don’t call them. I could hide behind “I’m swamped” or “I’ve got a lot of mentees and not enough time to go around” . . . but I don’t.
Truth is they have to call me.
There’s a purpose here. Actually, there are two.
First, men need to take responsibility for their growth and development. With thousands of books, podcasts, videos, and online resources available, guys continue to sit and watch ESPN or Netflix over and over. The median (typical) American reads only four books a year but watches almost five hours of TV a day. Too often we’re content to let culture sell us what it wants without thinking about we want or need.
If a man wants to grow in dignity, integrity, and grace, he’s got to take the initiative. He’s got to reach out to mentors and search out things to read, listen to, and watch. He’s got to take responsibility for his personal and spiritual growth. A mentor is a valuable resource, but ultimately, the mentee has to step up for himself.
The other reason a mentor doesn’t call is to teach his mentees to ask for help. Men today try to project self-sufficiency and do-it-yourself-ness, and as a result, are too proud to ask for help. Yet inside, they’re needier than they can ever imagine.
God created a world defined by need and interdependency. True intimacy begins when a person can safely bring his need to another and get help. There’s something built into us that leads us to help others. It bonds us with them in a unique way. Jesus had twelve disciples, but he was closest with three of them . . . Peter, James, and John. Why? Because they were initiating conversations, asking Him for answers, and seeking His help.
Part of what makes Radical Mentoring work is that the mentor sets the agenda. The meetings are at his house, and he is sharing his life experience and facilitating discussion. Yes, he’s responding to needs and addressing concerns, but the format is on his terms as the older, wiser, more experienced guy.
During the mentoring season, I give my mentees tons of time and energy, if they want more of it, I’ll gladly give it to them . . . they just have to ask.
PS . . . this goes for mentors too. If you need help, ask for it. Maybe even from one of your mentees. We’re made for community. Embrace that.
Question: Are you actively taking it upon yourself to seek out the help, guidance, and wisdom you need, or are you just waiting for it to come to you?