The Way to Break a Bad Cycle
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- There's one word that can change a culture.
- There's one word that can help break a bad cycle that's passed down from generation to generation.
- There's one word that can instill in young people more confidence.
That word is mentoring.
As a teenager, I had the privilege of being mentored not only by my father, but by an Elder of my Church. Harold Cannon invested in me for 3 years while I was in High School. He taught me the Bible, taught me about manhood issues, and he helped me through my teenage years. I know I wouldn't be the same if it weren't for Harold meeting weekly with me, sharing life with me, and giving me direction.
As a college student, I had the privilege of being mentored by Ron Brown. Ron is a Pastor who discipled me. He taught me in the ways of truth and doctrine. He challenged my personal walk with Christ, and he got me prepared for full-time ministry. He showed me how to love a wife and raise kids. Ron helped me get in ministry and get through some tough college years.
Since college, I've had others who have helped me grow as a preacher, counselor, husband, and father. If I didn't have an older person invest in me over the years, I wonder where I would be.
For the past 3 months, I've been mentoring a teenager. It has been so fun hearing about his life, teaching him what I know about God's Word, and helping him wrestle through struggles he deals with. I'm teaching him what I was taught. He's also teaching me.
I've been a part of a younger generation who is desperately in need of mentoring. I see a younger generation with so much potential, but like any young person, needs guidance. Without an older person to guide us along, we can let fear get the best of us.
Crawford Loritts said:
"...In recent years I have been spending more of my time with younger leaders...I am high on this generation, and I believe the cause of Christ is in good hands. But there is one issue that keeps cropping up in our conversations. It is the issue of courage. Many of these rising leaders grapple with fear. At times this struggle leads to an inability to take courageous action in implementing the assignment God has given to them... Divorce, the rise of single-parent households, and the tragic assortment of abuse and dysfunction in our families have produced a generation with many young people who are afraid of risk, and afraid to make mistakes (Leadership as an Identity)."
I've seen young people afraid to take risks, so they extend their adolescent years. I've seen young people afraid to get married, have children, or simply afraid to make any mistakes. They don't act, but they analyze. Too much analysis can lead to paralysis.
Life can be hard. Calculated risks must be taken, and commitment must be made whether it be with deciding on a Church, a career, or investing in relationships. An older person who has "been there, done that" can help us learn from their mistakes and their successes. We can hear their stories of struggle and realize we aren't alone. Younger people need to hear stories that guide us and inspire us to action.
Larry Crabb said:
"The greatest need in our world today is simply this: godly men and women who possess and display a quality of life that reflects the character of God, and that provokes curiosity in others about how they too can know God well (The Silence of Adam)."
If you are an older woman, find a younger woman who you can teach how to love their husbands and children. Find a woman who you can coach on how to stay pure, how to focus on work and family, and how to be kind to others (Titus 2:3-5).
If you are an older man, find a younger man and encourage him to be self-controlled. Show integrity and teach the Word to him so that he will be prepared in this world (Titus 2:5-8).
As an older mentor, it's important not to dominate the conversation but to earn trust and ask questions.
If you're a younger person, seek a mentor immediately. Find someone who you respect and ask them if they could meet you for a cup of coffee. Then ask if they could meet with you to mentor you. As younger people we can learn so much from the older generation.
Proverbs 16:31 says, "Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life." Those people who are our fathers and mothers have much to teach us. Find a mentor and break the cycle!