Posts tagged being a mentor

Jackie Robinson’s story: becoming a mentor (conclusion)

This is the third and final part in the Jackie Robinson Story as carried in the book, Stepping UpBe sure to read parts one and two if you missed them.

20/20 generational vision

photo from

photo from

Jackie Robinson wasn’t forced to become the man to integrate Major League Baseball. Branch Rickey could have found another player, and it certainly would have been more comfortable for Robinson to follow someone else’s lead. He had the ability, however, to look beyond himself. Someone needed to make the sacrifice. Someone needed to blaze the trail so that others in the future would have equal opportunities.

I think that many of us men face a similar choice as we reach our thirties, forties, and fifties. We may never face the intense opposition that confronted Robinson, but I believe we are called to look beyond ourselves to the impact we can have on the next generation.

Becoming a mentor

Becoming a mentor is the fourth of the five steps of manhood. Some guys can see clearly where they are in life, but they haven’t developed the ability, like Robinson did, to look past themselves. A mentor, on the other hand, exhibits “20/20 generational vision.” He sees the need to pass on his faith and his experience to “faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

A mentor makes decisions and orders his life to intentionally invest in the next generation. A mentor must pass on his values — lessons learned from his mistakes, successes, and defeats — the essence of his life. He intentionally passes on wisdom to the next generation and casts a vision for how they can do the same.

It’s possible to step up and become a mentor when you are a young man, especially if you are put in a position of authority or influence over others. But in this section, I’m going to speak primarily to those of you who are entering what I call the “prime time” years.

Most younger men pour their physical and emotional energy into building their careers, raising their families, and being involved in church or community. Once their children leave home, I’ve often seen men head in one of three directions:

  1. They pour their energy into a renewed effort to capitalize on their position and experience and seek further success and influence in the working world.
  2. Perhaps fearing the onset of older age, they regress and try to recapture their youth by seeking adventure and sensual pleasure.
  3. Realizing that they won’t achieve the wealth and success they had dreamed about in their careers, they gradually become depressed and passive and end up squandering the assets God has given them.

But there is a better path — a path of wisdom. Many men in the prime time years recognize that they now have the time and energy to broaden their influence and impact for Christ by mentoring younger men.

If you are at this stage in life, my challenge to you is to step up and become a mentor. You’ll find the “view” from this step to be quite exhilarating.

Excerpted with permission from Stepping Up, by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing.

12 things I’ve learned from my mentors

For many of us, mentoring is a word we are familiar with from the academic and business world.  Yet most of us haven’t really experienced what it means to be a part of a mentoring relationship.  Here are two things I know and believe with all my heart: Men need a mentor, and men need to be a mentor.  And for many of us, one is harder than the other.

To a man, I can guarantee that almost all of us want to be mentored.  But we don’t see that we have anything to offer others so we don’t feel adequate to be a mentor.  Yet without one, there isn’t the other.  Without a mentor, there is no mentoring.  So as you grow in your manhood, it’s time to start thinking and praying about opportunities to mentor another man.

As a man stands on the manhood step, it’s a good thing to be facing upward, thinking about mentoring. As you contemplate becoming a mentor, I want to encourage you to begin asking God to give you a couple of men to mentor. This may not be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done, but I promise you, it will be one of the most important and satisfying things you will ever do as a man.

Previously I shared a list of 12 things that I teach those I mentor. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned from mentors who’ve come alongside me through the years:

  • The best measure of what a man can do is what a man has done.
  • Making bad decisions helps you learn to make good decisions.
  • Once the facts are clear, usually the right decision jumps out at you.
  • Communication is not what is said but what is heard.
  • Every man needs margin in his calendar for the unexpected at work and at home.
  • No amount of success at work will compensate for failure at home.
  • Debt is dangerous.
  • Lifelong male friendships are challenging, but every man needs a friend who can speak truth into his life.
  • A man needs to be accountable to another man.
  • Praying with his wife is the most powerful thing a husband can do every day.
  • Every man is leaving a legacy, so why not be intentional about the legacy you leave?
  • A life lived without God, the Scriptures, and complete, daily surrender to Jesus Christ is a wasted life.

What about you?  Was there a man or group of men who invested some of these truths into your life ?  Do you have someone you can turn to when life whips you into discouragement or even despair?  Do you take the time to invest in someone else?  Are there boys in your life (church, neighborhood, work, etc.) who are without a dad or could use another man’s perspective on life … yours?

If you wait to feel adequate enough to mentor, you never will.  God doesn’t equip those who think they have all the answers.  He honors those who take a courageous step of faith.  He equips you to accomplish what you’ve taken the initiative to do when it’s done for His glory.  And, taking care of the next generation and preparing them for God’s work is for His glory.

You can do this, men.  You can be the man God uses in the life of another young man to unleash him toward God’s purpose.

It takes a little courage.  Are you that man?  Step up and see God work.

Excerpted from Stepping Up (Kindle Locations 2297-2314). FamilyLife Publishing®. Kindle Edition.

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