The importance of having a good mentor in your life
There are a host of men that have in one way or another shaped my life. Some on a smaller scale, and some on a much larger scale. Whether it’s holding me to a certain standard, or making me feel worthy, these men have helped mold me into the man I am today. I didn’t realize the importance of this as a high school student, or a college student, but I realize it now as a young man trying to find his career and make his mark on the world.
No matter where you point on a map, there are kids, young men and women going through life without a positive male role model. This is not to discredit what single mothers have done and positive female role models provide, because they do truly amazing work. However, the power of a positive male role model’s life on the younger generations is immensely undervalued, especially by men. As men, we want to matter. But perhaps in that pursuit, we are missing one of our most important missions. One of the biggest regrets men have as they get older and reflect on their lives is that they didn’t spend enough time with their families and people they care about. What do these men know that we don’t?
A father’s role goes much deeper than just being the provider or the disciplinarian:
There is something that tugs on heartstrings when a little boy runs into his daddy’s arms. In his mind, there is no safer place than being in his presence and under his watch. But what if he isn’t there or doesn’t show how much he cares? Where will he seek refuge, comfort and confidence?
Every young boy wants his father’s approval and to hear the words, “Son I’m proud of you.” How many times while we were younger did we yell, “Dad, watch this!” or “Dad, Look at me!” or get excited when he was at one of our games or performances? If we don’t hear those words, or seemingly get that support, we can blaze a path, sometimes recklessly leaving pain and suffering in our wake, trying to gain approval or status.
If we are consistently reminded that we are good enough, that we are loved, and that we are supported, how much of a weight is lifted off our shoulders? Especially when that love and support isn’t contingent on what we have accomplished, but because of who we are. We can freely live our lives with a humble confidence knowing that through the good and bad we are loved and welcomed home.
Over the past year I have found an invaluable resource in forming strong relationships with men walking through life a few steps ahead of me. The wisdom, honesty, and grace they provide, along with so many other things, have had a significant impact on me. They’ve motivated me and encouraged me that things can still be done the right way, and that striving for that excellence wouldn’t hinder the life I wanted, but enhance it.
As men we cannot take our roles lightly. Good men develop good guys. We have been given the privilege and capability by God to show a small glimpse of his love, compassion, and his accountability in a tangible way that you rarely get anywhere else. When it doesn’t happen, the results can be astounding. Here are just some of the statistics:
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
- 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
- 71% of all high school dropouts are from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
It’s important to be a mentor, or to be under the guidance of a mentor.
The White House has implemented a program called My Brother’s Keeper. Click on the image if you would like to find an opportunity to serve.