People come in and out of your life, and they all have different roles and influences on you. Parents, siblings, friends, relatives and co-workers each have a specific role and purpose. One relationship that’s unique and important in your life is a mentor. A mentor is a friend who’s often older than you that offers their life experience to teach you and help you through your personal, academic and spiritual challenges.
Parents can give you insight and advice, but they’re immediately involved in your life and what they say affects them as well. Friends encourage you, but they’re trying to figure out what’s going on in their own lives. Siblings can understand certain elements of your life like no one else because they live under the same roof, but that confinement can become a limitation on your relationship. Relatives love you and everyone else in your family equally and may not always be able to provide an outsiders perspective. Co-workers can typically offer a fresh perspective to your situation, however, they may not always be able to embrace your values or faith.
Mentors are a unique, important relationship. Mentors give you advice and guidance from an outside viewpoint while being invested in you. They don’t even necessarily have to specifically give you advice, but by telling you about their life experience you can glean wisdom and new points of view.
I have been blessed to have many mentors throughout the various stages of my life. Most of them have either been youth group leaders or extracurricular directors/coaches. The youth group leaders brought a friendly relationship through which I learned. The directors and coaches acted more as teachers but also offered input into my personal life when appropriate.
Each mentor had a different role. One thing they all had in common was their willingness to pour wisdom and insight into my life. They all encouraged me. A strong mentor will offer you wisdom without tearing you down. Nor will a mentor try to manipulate you or direct you into “their way” of doing things. A mentor should have your best interest in mind and never be controlling.
Proverbs 13:20 says “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Walking with wise people helps foster strength in your spiritual, personal and academic matters. Often mentors come to you, but sometimes you need to go looking for them. Finding a mentor is important, and there are many ways to do so. It’s important to seek Christ-minded people, however, know that God can speak to you through anyone. One way to start is in your church. Talk to your youth leaders about going out for a cup of coffee or hanging out at the mall. Or you can ask your youth pastor to help you connect with someone in the church. Another way is to talk to your school club or athletic leaders about finding someone to mentor you. If you’re not comfortable doing any of those things, email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you find someone in your area to connect with you.