I have been fortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of a few good mentoring relationships over the years. Each one, fortunately, has taken me to a new level. The best ones do two things: 1) Celebrate who you are without a concern for core character change; 2) Keep you moving toward your goal.
One wonderful mentor was Dr. Kenyon Meeks. Ken was my ministry mentor during seminary, and he had his hands full. I had been severely hurt in one denomination and transitioned to another during our time together. During my second year in seminary, my mother died. She and I were very close, and Ken was there for me.
I had become an emotional minefield, and Ken negotiated it with great precision. He was a calm, thoughtful presence as I struggled to deal with the mind-screws that sadly pervade the sometimes sadistic world of professional ministry. The ordained ministry reflects the society it attempts to serve. Like most professions, there are good eggs and bad eggs, and some truly rotten ones. I have personal and professional experience with all three. I will always be grateful for my time with Ken. If you possess the annoying tendency to tilt toward windmills the way I do, by all means do so in style, with someone like Ken watching your back.
When we mentor another person, we assume a moral responsibility. When Hippocrates said, “Do no harm,” I think he had a lot more in mind than the dispensing of medicine. We are human and we will harm others; we can’t seem to help it. Mentoring others gives us an opportunity to not only assess the mentee but to assess ourselves as well. No real guidance of the other takes place without that self-assessment.
Are you being called to mentor or help guide someone to a new level of being?
How do you know if it’s a good fit?
You answer the call. If that person remains on the line, stay connected. If the connection isn’t lost over time, it’s probably a good fit.
I hope 2018 brings you into a positive mentoring relationship in one fashion or another. Perhaps you are due for the goodwill and skill that only a certain person can offer you; and maybe, just maybe, someone deserves your expertise and kindness.
Happy New Year!