By Andrew Mooney
Faculty, College of Theology
This author’s philosophy of seeking and becoming a mentor derives from three basic modalities: First, intentionally embracing all people, no matter what race, status or faith background. Second, offering encouragement, in some way, to everyone that crosses the one’s path. Finally, equipping individuals with the tools (intrinsic or extrinsic) that will develop/reinforce pride in self, which strengthens confidence. A mentor is a person that seeks to invest in another, sharing from his or her experience, skill set or knowledge.
Many of us appreciate communing with others that are “like ourselves” whether we support the same sports teams, work in the same industry or raised in similar environments. We all have a predisposition (bias) toward those that we approach or allow to approach. In the process of seeking and becoming a mentor, the assumption is the mentor initiating the relationship. This is the idea behind “embracing all.” There is legitimacy to seeking all, those who fall under the mentor’s bias as well as those who do not. In other words, a mentor must be someone who is easy to approach.
Within the hustle of everyday living, the struggle to remain positive become at time overwhelming. There was a church in Ephesus whose members were struggling to unify as a congregation. Things like, gentleness, patience and humility were difficult to see within the member’s relations. Therefore, the apostle Paul suggested that they bear with each other in love in one accord. In other words, be at peace unified through the Spirit (Ephesians 4:2-3).
On its face, this seems like an easy thing to do, however, it’s not always the case. So what is one to do to obey the Apostle’s directive? “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs…” (Ephesians 4:29). Simply stated, encourage each other. A key element to mentorship is optimism and seeing the potential in others as “building them up” is evidence of true character.
There is a presupposition intrinsic to humanity; the fact that we are all in this together! What is this one might ask? Living in this world. All of us face challenging situations in life, whether we fall short of a personal goal, lose a loved one or struggle in faith. There are things that affect us in a multitude of ways and a person’s responds, determines where they are in the journey to maturation.
The book of James exclaims, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…,” (James 1:2-4). This sounds encouraging; however, where does one find the equipping necessary to overcome? Contextually, James exposes a greater paradigm—maturation of the individual within the trial. It requires faith to mature and as people of faith live out their faith, their acts living in obedience, no matter the situation, become the evidence necessary to promote right living to others. Finally, a mentor leading the individuals in their path of maturity, helping them achieve their goals.
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