Posts Tagged ‘mentoring’


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Remember when you first found out and you felt the weight of the world on your shoulders? Most of us, (well I will speak for me) I was not responsible enough in my on right, now, I am responsible for the existence and well being of someone else. A precious, gentle, little angel, a miracle, a bundle of joy (until you found out it was a boy, then he became a rugged, rough and tumble little boy). Sorry, I did not intend to sound sexist. I am dad…ok now I’m generalizing. Sorry…I will just move on. 🙂

I remember the feeling, the mountain of responsibility that I do not think anyone is really ready to take on. We may want it, but are we ever ready? There are plenty of classes and books like “What to Expect When Expecting” (which was a HUGE help to me), but none prepare you for “your child”, their personality, the subtle differences that make them and your household unique from any other. My wife and I have Child Development degrees from Michigan State, but all of that seems to go out of the window when you have a lil boy who is 14 months and still not walking. Even though we knew that all kids developed and matured at their own pace, we still wondered, “is something wrong with his legs, did we do something, how can I help him?”

Where am I going with this…ever second of their lives, from an infant to toddler, through adolescents and even tween years, we are inspecting, guiding, caring, in their ear, trying to teach them everything they need to know. Then one day in the hustle of life and through them plugging into other “influences” (iPods, TV, video games, friends, internet, etc.) we fall silent.

It is not always intentional. You start a new career, your own business or even a blog. You get your first iPad…I’m just saying things happen! :-). In years past, we were like stalkers (yes I said it, think about it) hovering over them with constant reminders of what they needed to do to stay safe from, “don’t touch that, hot!, don’t run with that in your hand, get down from there, your going to poke your eye out!, get that out of your mouth (or nose, ear, other).” The reality is this…the things that will hurt them in these later years can be far more dangerous, just less obvious.

We fall silent for days at a time thinking that we have time to tell them later. We had one or two conversations with them last week and now we feel like we have done our part, but those can not undo the influences piped into them hours, days, and months prior. We only talked to them because we see signs or real evidence of something we did not like.

My point…Silence Kills! The more they do not hear the words and voice of TRUTH, the weaker your influence becomes. Parents! You can not afford to be silent in your own house, because you will loose influence over your entire family. If you do not give your kids TRUTH, what will they use to guide them when you are not around. TRUTH provides a moral compass that guides them and helps them to make decisions when mommy and daddy are not there. TRUTH protects them from peer preassure. TRUTH gives them hope. TRUTH gives them healing. TRUTH empowers them to move forward in spite of the obstacles they face.

The question is…WHAT IS YOUR TRUTH?

If you do not formalize what is your TRUTH, society will do it for you. There are many realities, but only one TRUTH. Just because the world makes a thing legal, thus a reality, it does not make it TRUTH in my household.

Reality…you can stop at the corner store and buy cigarettes. TRUTH, they cause cancer and can kill you. We have had family members die from lung cancer. My son asked, “Daddy, why does G-Ma smoke if it can make her die?” My response, “Son, in our household, we do not smoke cigarettes. We will pray to God that she will stop.” #Truth

Reality…alcohol is a social outlet that is ok in moderation. TRUTH…many in my family have become addicted to alcohol, which caused them to injure others (physically and emotionally), damage property and not realize their full potential. My response, “Son, in our household, we do not drink alcohol (especially under the age of 21).” #Truth

Reality….in many states, it is legal for same sex couples to get married. TRUTH…I believe that marriage should be between a man and a women. Not something that we had ever talk about until last week. He was walking past the TV and saw/heard on the news that two men were getting married. “Dad, I thought only man and a women could get married. That’s nasty!” I rebuked him for calling the men nasty and talk to him about loving everyone, even if they are doing something that we do not believe. My repsponse, “Son, in our house, we believe marriage is between a man and a women.” #Truth

Do we hate any of the above for what they do? No! We love them for who they were made to be. Do we treat them badly for what they believe? No! We just pray for them. In the same way they want us to accept that what they do and believe is ok…in that same way they must accept what I believe is ok too.

I could go on and on about the many things that society has made acceptable, but if we do not establish what is TRUTH for us we are leaving our children to face a world of conflicting views and various complicated opinions that has the potential to hinder their destiny. I am not telling you to make them a robot, who is not able to think through and understand why they believe what they believe. I am saying that we must not be silent and leave their beliefs to chance while the world legislates and drip untruths into their minds. After a while, they will no longer want to even consider your TRUTH. Silence Kills. #period

As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord (Jesus Christ). The Bible is our TRUTH. The Bible is the TRUTH that I empower my son with to handle the things of this world. I help him understand the rules of the game. We are in this world, but not of it. We have to learn to function, but we do not have to conform. We have to love everyone, but we do not have to like what they do.

Therefore thus says the Lord : “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 15:19, 20 ESV)

Reality…your kids will get angry at you for what say and make them do. TRUTH…if you train up a child in the way that they should go, when they older, they will not depart from it. That does not mean that they will not have consequences for their actions. It does not mean that they will always do the right thing. It does not mean that while they are “getting old” that they will not explore other options. It means that in their mind and in their heart that will know the TRUTH.

Reality….society (maybe even you) will not like everything that I say in this blog. TRUTH…I must speak it.

SILENCE KILLS!


This is the fundamental reason why I started writing this blog. Do we (Society) really understand the difference between a role model and a mentor. Webster.com defines a role model as “a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others”. A mentor is described as “a trusted counselor or guide.” We should not confuse the two. They are distinct and very different, but could be one in the same.

In my opinion, celebrities / athletes can be viewed as role models, but as parents we should not blur the lines to confuse them with being a mentor to our children. I kinda spoke of this in a couple blogs in the past, but in the wake of the A Rod-on-every-channel-saga, I felt compelled to vent again.

I have heard people and news reporters say, “what about the children” and rightfully so. However, my hope is that the parent(s) would stand up and be the “mentor” who will counsel and guide their children to understand that if all that is alleged is true, that he may not be a person whose behavior in a particular role we should imitate (role model).”

I am not naive. I do understand that not all children can differentiate between roles and characteristics of a person…and as they study their role, negative seeds from their character has the potential to seep out and invade their hearts, minds, and spirits of the youth. I get it!

Growing up, Michael Jordan was my role model. I watched and studied how he played basketball, but I knew nothing about him as a person. Because I did not know him or trust him, he could not be considered my mentor, who would guide and counsel me. I remember my mother talking to me about how he appeared to be “arrogant” and that is not something that she liked about him. “Thanks for sharing,” but I did not care about who he was off the court. I was interested in how he turned and dunked on Patrick Ewing along the baseline. I did run around singing “Like Mike…if I could be like Mike” (wanna be…wanna be like Miiiikkkkeee…Sorry, got lost for a sec). However, for me, it was with a basketball in hand.

This further proves my point. Corporations blur the lines by using celebrities in “real life” situations to help sell their products. Endorsement deals take celebrities and athletes out of their “role” and humanize them. With the addition of social media, we have 24 / 7 access to the people that we historically called role models. Now we know where they are, what they think, what they eat, who they hang out with, where they shop, where they took their kids, need I go on. But, we still do not “know” them. In the same way we would not read a book about a person and feel like we know them enough to marry them, we can not allow our children to “follow” people who we can not confirm if they have the same morals, values, beliefs, and judgements that we do. They may have made a decision that appears to be in alignment with what we believe, but we do not understand the context or why they came to that conclusion, which matters.

Sorry, I ramble. I am not saying that the Lance Armstrong’s, Tiger Woods, and A-Rods (to name a few) of the world are right, but I am saying we (parents and media) unfairly crucify and condemn them because we place unrealistic expectations on them to be the mentors of our youth. News flash, we are not perfect, either. If a camera followed us around 24 / 7 what would be exposed about who we are and what we did? Again, I think that “they” must be held accountable, just not cast out because of a mistake they made and for being in a position that we placed them in. I know, i know! To who much is given, much is required. Grace.

Bottom line…the original “mentors” are the parents. Our role is to guide and counsel our children. It is great if we can also be their role model. If not, we should find a suitable role model for them and not allow them to default to who the world highlights as a poster child in a particular role. Once we find a person, explain (counsel) why we selected that person(s), and constantly monitor so if they ever exhibit behaviors contrary, we will know it is time to find another role model (guide).

I am theoriginalmentor and so are you. Declare It. “I am The Original Mentor!”