Thank you notes can be polarizing. Most of us like to get them but hate to write them.
I got the one above from an 8-year-old the other day. His dad was in my mentoring group last year and greatly benefitted from the experience. I assume after he told his son about it, the little guy just wanted to say thanks. As I’ve led a mentoring group each year for the past 16 years, I’ve seen God do amazing things in guys’ lives. Below are some of the things I’ve watched God help my mentees grasp over the years . . .
- That they are unconditionally loved by a perfect Heavenly Father . . . and their identity is not in their work, their golf handicap, the kind of car they drive, but in being an adopted son of Almighty God. Wow!
- Coming to knowing God personally . . . not just carrying the label ‘Christian.’
- That their wives are the only legitimate source of romance they’ll ever have, and that when they love and serve their wives, their wives flourish and love them back.
- That while it’s great to love your work, it’s important to remember that work is a ‘god’ that will never love you back.
- The fact that fatherhood is a treasured gift . . . that each year of their kid’s life is like a head of fresh lettuce. There’s only a little bit of time to enjoy it before it’s gone.
- Coming to humility through gratitude instead of brokenness.
- The power of authentic male friendship and the dangers of trying to ‘go it alone.’ The only time we saw Jesus by himself was when He was praying. He was always with one or more of His guys.
- How to really pray . . . by talking to God as a Best Friend and Perfect Father and understanding that God actually speaks to them in a meaningful way if they’ll learn how to listen.
- How to deal with money and put material things in perspective.
- Useful direction on church and the value of committing to it with energy and money.
- How to embrace Scripture in a new and different way by committing specific verses to memory . . . by topic, so they can call the verses up and apply them to real world situations.
- Knowing that they are always making choices . . . always establishing priorities. Understanding that they are ‘choosing to cheat’ somewhere every day.
- Understanding that God is trustworthy and He will always be there with them and for them.
- Becoming learners and followers of Jesus Christ . . . establishing habits like reading, journaling, praying and tithing as they grow in their faith.
And maybe more than all of that, I love watching as God inspires a mentee to make an outward turn and accept their responsibility to be intentional about influencing the people in their spheres to move one step closer to Christ . . . to be intentional mentors and disciple-makers and to ‘pay forward’ what they’ve receive into future generations.
Watching mentees encounter God and experience the life-change described above makes mentoring worth the time, effort and occasional frustrations. And getting a thank you note, especially from a wife or kid who was directly impacted by a mentee’s growth is an absolute joy and a great reminder of what happens when you intentionally invest in others and point them to Jesus.
A good friend of mine got a thank you note from the President of the United States one time . . . I mean a real handwritten one. I’ll never get one of those but even if I did, I wouldn’t treasure it like I do this one from my new 8-year-old friend.
Scripture: And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)
Mentor Tip: Mentoring guys can feel like a thankless job sometimes. We rarely see the return on our investment in the short-term. But trust me, it’s there and the first people to benefit from a well-mentored man are his wife and kids. Keep the faith and trust the process.