“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
I was a shy teenager at a new church youth group event. It was an overnight at a Holidome (not sure if they have those anymore – it was a Holiday Inn with a volleyball court, racquetball, and a bunch of other cool stuff). I knew some of the other students from church retreats, but most of them were strangers to me (including several soon-to-be best friends of mine). When I went into a bedroom to put my stuff down, I found a tall man sitting on the bed typing on a computer not unlike the one on which I type this blog post. He said hi and told me his name was George. He also said he’d be joining us on the volleyball court in a minute. He was finishing up something for his day job in Information Technology.
I didn’t know it at the time, but George would become a true friend and a great mentor at a pivotal time in my life. As an insecure and somewhat shy teenager, it was great to have a slightly older man who treated me like I was a young man, not a boy. Every teenage boy needs a man who will treat him with respect and show him what a real man is like. I don’t mean a macho, clichéd, Burt Reynolds kind of man. I mean a man of character and integrity. That was George.
You’d think a dad would be best-suited for this role. In some cases, I suppose that’s true, but even if that’s the case (which is rare), it is helpful to have a man who isn’t Dad to support what Dad has already done. I’m praying now for men like George to come into my sons’ lives at the right time and mentor them. I’ll be looking for them, too, and trying to engineer those relationships with youth group leaders, teachers, coaches, etc. We dads need to be intentional about guiding our children and their relationships. It’s part of guarding their hearts and helping them become the men and women God wants them to be.
Are you thinking about your children’s future mentors? Do you have any in mind?