Webster defines a mentor as, “A trusted counselor or guide; a tutor, a coach.”
This describes a mentor I had during a vulnerable time in my life as a young man. I was serving in the Marine Corps, stationed on the island of Okinawa . . . separated from my newlywed wife for about seventeen long months.
To my surprise, Bob Newkirk, The Navigators representative, took an interest in me as a person. We regularly played handball and racquetball together. I stayed in his home on occasion. I spent holidays there when I was off duty on liberty. Bob and I traveled together. At gospel meetings, I would lead singing, and Bob would preach. We ministered as a team. I went through an advanced Scripture-memory program, thanks to Bob.
He loved me. He confronted me. He pointed out blind spots. He built into my life.
That is mentoring.
I’ve discovered when individuals are gifted and young, the most common tendency is to fall into arrogance, and sometimes, raw conceit. Almost without exception when I detect conceit in an individual, I say to myself, They haven’t been mentored. I have never met a self-important individual who has been mentored. Truth be told, arrogance doesn’t survive mentoring. A mentor will point out blind-spots and will reprove you appropriately when you need to be confronted about your pride.
As a result of being mentored, you learn the value of being vulnerable, open, unguarded, honest, and ideally, a person of authenticity.
I still have mentors in my life. I welcome them. Why? Because I need them.
So do you.