I have been a mentor now for the past 8 years. I worked at Denton Bible Church as a high school leader for 6 years and then finally quit after I realized I had started to grow out of it.
I loved being a leader. I loved working with kids and the relationships that I have with the guys that I mentored have been very rewarding and they still exist to some degree today.
I don’t consider myself much of a leader/mentor anymore but more of a big brother that is there when I am needed.
One of the guys that I mentored recently got married and when it was time for him to get married I didn’t tell him it was too soon(he had just turned 21), rather, I asked him a series of important questions and he gave me all the right answers. I gave him my blessing so-to-speak and now that he is married I am extremely impressed with how well he has acclamated to marriage and how mature and responsible he has become.
Sometimes my guys do not make wise decisions. One time one of my guys(We’ll call him Bill) borrowed money from his girlfriends dad and then he told his girlfriends dad that he put the money back into the bank and he didn’t. Later his girlfriends dad had all these checks bouncing and the situation really got out of hand and the girlfriends dad ended up pulling a knife on “Bill”. The problem escalated because at the time “Bill” was living with his girlfriend at her dad’s place and so suddenly he was left out on the street with nowhere to go. I had to drive 2 hours to pick him up and we had a long talk and I told him a few things:
1. He was stupid
2. He needed to take responsibility for his actions sooner or later
3. We all make stupid mistakes (he just seemed to make them all the time)
Bill now has his own place. He is no longer with that girlfriend and I have seen a lot of improvement in him over the past few months.
The thing is you reach a certain age that when you make mistakes you know that you made them and you don’t need anyone to tell you that you have done something wrong. If every time they messed up I came down on them they would get tired of me always being “on” them.
As a mentor/leader/big brother I have to pick my battles with these kids and try to guide them down the right path without doing the driving for them.
Recently a couple of my guys went off and got into a sticky situation and when it was all said and done it was pretty harmless. Someone asked me, “Did you get on to them?” and I responded, “Nope”. I think that everyone deserves at least one free pass. They get into trouble, you help them get through it, and hopefully they learn from it. However, if the behavior persists, then you step in and use whatever means necessary, (Kung Fu, Dynamite, Hypnosis) to get them from repeating this bad behavior.
If you have never been a mentor, or done any volunteer work like Habitat for Humanity or Big Brothers and Sisters, I suggest doing it. In the end I found that I was the one that learned/benefitted the most from the relationship.
I love you all.