The best of intentional mentoring can have an honest element of risk:
Mentoring, abused, can be manipulative. Unfortunately, some mentors set themselves up as the “one who knows all, sees all, predicts all.” While mentors may have more experience and knowledge about aspects of life, the best of mentors keep in mind that they, too, are on this journey called…life!
The best of mentoring, intentional mentoring, has the capacity for risk in walking with another into their future. Such was the early mentoring with my friend, Mark (…permission has been granted to share some of his story).
Eight years ago Mark had moved his wife and two children to Denver to pursue graduate school at a very fine seminary, to prepare for a vocation in ministry. His heart and intentions were good. His desire to serve others got him here, right where he needed to be.
However, (…and the long story cut way, way short…) one day, after listening for months to his good heart, his hopes, his fears, his joys, his questions and concerns about his whole life, I took a risk…a huge risk…and asked him this question:
“Is being in a ministry position in a church what you really want to be doing with the rest of your life? Just give me a simple, yet profound, yes or no.”
“Mark, I’m not trying to play ‘God’ on you here. You are in an exceptional school. You have a deep heart of care for others, beginning with your wife and kids. You have a tremendous capacity to be a man who thrives and can encourage others to do the same. But I see you withering instead of thriving.”
“What do you think?”
Well, it wasn’t Moses parting the sea. Or an angel all of a sudden showing up and sitting at our table in the cafe where we were doing breakfast. But something shifted in the eyes of this good man that I will not forget.
“Mark, what is it you really want to do with your life?”
“I want to be in business. I think I would be better there at helping others.”
“Funny you should ask me this today. I know coming out here to school got me here. But I know I need to make a change.”
“Thank you for asking me this…for caring enough about me and my future to do so. We can still keep mentoring times, can’t we?”
And so we have, for eight years now. Most of those mentoring moments happen at the Paneras here in Parker, CO at 6:30am.
Mark, as a business man (computer consulting business for medical/dental practices), as a husband (supportive wife, to the max!), a father (and now there is a family of four amazing kids), as a friend to others (good stories can be told here), as an on-the-grow businessman of excellence (knowing he is now living into why he ultimately was led to make the move to Colorado).
Through the thick and thin of life, I have witnessed a man coming alive, thriving. Intentionally. Experiencing deep change. In every one of the 8 dimensions of his whole life. Frankly, transformed, with a commitment to continue to be. The man of quiet strength Mark is today is not the man I first met eight years ago.
I celebrate this good man who is committed to thriving, intentionally, daily. What an honor it has been to be invited to walk with him into his future.