'See that older man over there in the corner?'
“He’s going to ask if I can mentor him. I can see it in his eyes.”
Several years back, when presenting a mentoring workshop, that is what I said to a good friend who had gone with me to a full day of three-hour workshops on caring for people who are longing to grow healthier in every facet of their lives. Sure enough, when our time concluded, that man almost leapt over the tables and chairs to make sure he had my attention. (…I’m smiling even as I recall this…).
“In my lifetime I’ve never been mentored as you have shared with us today. I want this. I need this. I know many men my age, and younger, who need what you have shared. When can we meet to talk about this?”
That began one of the finer, fulfilling mentoring friendships I’ve had in all the decades of being a whole-person mentor, which continues to this day. Not only has this good man, husband, father, grandfather, business man, care-filled friend to others, significantly grown in his own life (…all 8 dimensions…), but he has annually taken 12 to 15 men through LDG’s whole-person mentoring model.
Lives are changing. Marriages are being strengthened. Families are becoming more whole. Careers are being refocused. Physical health is being nurtured. Life lessons, some hard, some long, are being owned, welcomed and lived into. Individual, sincere, sacred reasons for being fully alive, no matter one’s age, are being adopted.
The model my friend has adapted to mentor men in a group setting is excellent and transferable. He begins each “mentoring year” with a weekend retreat so that the men can get acquainted and learn about each other and why they have signed on. It is here that they learn they are not alone in life struggles.
In our western culture, and other cultures, there is an understandable tentativeness when stepping into an unknown group. Will I be heard? How much do I dare share? What if I don’t connect with any of these other dudes? If I share my whole story, can I trust these other guys to keep a confidence? Frankly, these are reasonable questions when making such a commitment.
At the other end of that mentoring year for these dynamic men’s groups, there is often another weekend retreat, where they celebrate the forward movement what has taken place individually and collectively. And…most often, these men commit to continuing friendship where hard experiences have taken place in the course of that year. It is also a time of celebrating new, life-giving choices as these men further commit to living into all they were designed to be…and do.
I’ve had the sacred privilege of meeting these men on their year long journey since they know I have the privilege of being their leader’s mentor. It has been quietly amazing to experience them living with new found freedom they did not have when their group began.
As they begin to take hold of the four pillars*** of life, of LDG’s mentoring model, their lives begin to enjoy an added sense of purpose. Where hope was dim, newly-owned courage begins to light the path through their unique life, no matter the miscues or the grand moments of their existence.
Trust begins to be tested and lived.
when men gain strength to confess
wounds, fear, anger, hurts, etc.
Hope opens the eyes of their souls
to possibilities they did not know could be lived out.
Some times whole careers have changed.
New and re-newed marriages have been witnessed.
Relationships that have been
strained and held at arms length
for a long time have been healed.
Faith for their own unique life journey,
for which God has purposefully created them,
fuels their reasons for committing to live life
to the fullest extent possible
for all the rest of their days.
…and they are not alone on the journey!
Yes, bad things happen to both good and not-so-good people. Unasked for, unexpected struggles can creep, or roar, into our lives no matter our age, ethnicity, gender, education, spiritual beliefs, family of origin, etc.
Unexpected blessings and opportunities can also show up when we least expect them in groups like this. Chance meetings can begin life-long friendships.
Life (…though some seem to live life this way…) is not a game of chance. Life at it’s best, it’s fullest, comes from being intentional*** with who you are and how you are living out of who you are no matter your age. Life, at it’s best, is lived with self-permission to be committed to deep change*** as one lives through the decades of their life. This commitment is for all of one’s whole life,*** all 8 dimensions, nothing left ignored or unfocused.
The result? Transformation.*** As with all of us who are breathing right now, no matter our age or decade of life, we were created to be fully alive in all of who we are, and will become. Whether well mentored personally or in a vibrant group setting, this life-changing mentoring model brings life, care, hope, possibility, nurture, peace, loving and being loved, clarity, health, focus, meaning as you and I continue to pay attention to what my friend shares with those men he mentors.