“Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you.” (Walter Winchell)
In nine words, Winchell did a pretty good job of summarizing the book I’m currently reading about mentoring college students. It’s a very fine line between doing too much for them and letting them step up to the plate and take their own swings – even if they swing and miss!
Yet, as my time in mentoring increases, I’m finding that these young people aren’t looking for answers as much as sometime to listen to them. They long for patient sounding boards who they can bounce their latest ideas and concerns off of. They want to make their own decisions and map out their own course – yet, they’re willing to hear about potential traffic jams and pot holes. In other words, they want to drive the car, but readily welcome an older copilot to ride along in the passenger’s seat.
I’ll be honest; sometimes life in the passenger seat is challenging. There are times you want to stomp on the brake pedal or wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of a lesser-experienced driver. But, if we’ll simply sit beside them, take in the scenery, and point out the potential dangers along with the beautiful landmarks, it can be a wonderful journey for everyone!
An experienced ‘tour guide’ can definitely add to the enjoyment. But, they can also detract from the experience if they make the tour all about them. Again, discerning balance is required. When I was describing this elusive balance to my mom, she said, “Just be a guide by their side.” Wise words.
Why mention mentoring today? Because I know many of us are in life’s “2nd Half.” We have the childrearing and employment years largely behind us, and may be searching for that next “significant thing.”
Friends, selectively building into the life of a few young adults may just be that thing! Not only that, but this generation needs your wisdom, love, and companionship. And surprisingly, they actually WANT to spend time with you! Will you consider it? –Dave
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good… (Titus 2:3, ESV)
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