Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Put the "Men" in Mentor

My Dad was a great Dad; he was there when we needed to talk. He disciplined me when I needed it; he showed mercy when I deserved his anger, and he loved my Mom. He had a quick temper, but always asked us to forgive him. He was fair and honest. Though he was very conservative, he let the world know his viewpoints about liberal government leaders. He was a Christian who worked hard for his church -- leading, supporting and praying for it. He was the father I try to be today. In many ways he was my mentor, my teacher, and it was he who taught me how to be a dad and husband.

I was very blessed to have other mentors in my life. When I was in sixth grade, our neighbor, Wayne, sat on the front steps with my Dad and me. He looked over the lawn and pronounced, "Your son is old enough to take care of the lawn." From that day on Wayne showed me the best way to cut grass, how to apply the correct fertilizers and weed killers, and how to trim the edges. Since his lawn bordered on ours, the two houses presented a unified front to the neighborhood. We had the best yards! I still use much of Wayne's teachings in my yard work today. When I was married, Wayne was there as a groomsman -- fitting since he was the one who taught me to groom a yard.

Corney was the man who taught me to be the best in my profession. He worked in the next town over doing similar work that I did. One day he walked into my office and proceeded to show me the best ways to organize my office, purchase supplies, and file invoices. He shared secrets he had learned over the years about managing people and dealing with complaints. He gave me friendship and knowledge -- all the while building my confidence to be a leader. I will be buried in the same cemetery as Corney -- fitting since his best advice to me consisted on how not to be buried by paperwork.

Then there was Bill; he was a quiet man. He was also very thin. Bill and I worked on a project together. He had skill, knowledge, and drive. One day he and I sat drinking a beverage, and I asked about his health, for he seemed to be suffering. He shared his story -- one that involved military service, capture, a forced death march, imprisonment for two years, getting sick, and then, finally liberation! He shared how his military experience had helped him in the business world, for he was willing to risk everything. He laughed about the fortunes he made and lost, but always came back to, "It was better than a cell." Bill taught me perseverance, courage, and the importance of Christ. He taught me to survive those times when I thought I wouldn't. He was the most generous man I have known, freely giving, and expecting nothing in return. He showed me what it was to be a strong disciple of Christ. I continually strive to live my life up to his -- fitting since he lifted me up many times by his generosity and encouragement.

Today, I am surrounded by other mentors, some of whom I will not embarrass by mentioning them here, since they read this blog. Suffice it to say, it took other men in my life to teach me to be the man I am today. I still need other men in my life -- as mentors.

Men, let's put the "men" in mentor. Let us look for the man in our life we need to build up, encourage, teach, train, discipline, or just walk beside.

Anyone come to mind?


Ed Blonski said...

Jim and Wally are awesome mentors in my life. They are at least 20 years older than me, but treat me like an equal, pray for me, love me, admonish me, and by their very daily life teach me how to be a Christian man.

werich said...

My dad, now with our Heavenly Father and Christ, taught me the importance of remaining young. While he enjoyed watching football, the Bears particularily, he would without hesitation get out of his chair and play games with us kids. He preferred outdoors active games, but would equally play board games or cards. He knew where the bumps were in the road to go fast over and make our stomachs feel funny. He read us comic books. And, he was always there for us. With the help of God, I pray I can be the same to my children. Thank you Lord for giving me such a dad and mentor.

Eddie said...

Great comment, Werich.

My Dad just died this past winter, and I miss him big time. His absence, however, is diminished by all the good times we had together, and how he was always available for his family. When he was dying I knew I was losing somebody irreplaceable, but what he gave will last a lifetime.

Pat H. said...

I too have been blessed with a Dad that was such an awesome role model to me (today is his 80th birthday!). I have never met anyone possessing a work ethic like his; five years ago he and I transformed an empty 900 square foot rental space into a coffee and chocolate shop that my wife ran as her business, doing most of the construction work ourselves. He consistently out-worked me, out-thought me, and outlasted me (sounds like Survivor!). I consider the six months we spent on that project the best time ever spent with my Dad. We talked more in those 6 months than the remaining 47 years of my life combined. I am grateful he is just a phone call away.

Eddie said...

Enjoy (I know you do) the fact your Dad is only a phone call away. I'd love to talk with mine today.

The Layman said...

In my mid-twenties I spent to much time in the local bars, but along came a day when I wondered out loud about buying a house before I eventually needed one for a family some day. After a month or so of looking at some houses available on contract, my wise father said, "If you don't buy it I will." Do you suppose I actually had any competion? A zone leader many years later encouraged me to become a zone INTL. LLL President. He said, "No problem, I know you can do it, and if you need any help just call me." Like the verse in the Bible comparing Jesus to a rock, I believe our Heavenly Father also leaves a few rocks in our life-path to stumble over and to guide us through the weaker moments.