A mentor can be a lot of things.
And honestly, there are too many qualities to list here or contain within the pages of one simple book.
As I am getting older, as I’m asserting the position of authority and responsibility that comes with being a youth pastor and a leader in my church, I find I must determine for myself what it means to be a mentor.
What it means to disciple those I have authority over.
Being a man that is striving to be like Christ, I must decide how I will act when it comes to impacting other peoples lives.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but rather four important qualities that I think I must have, and continually work on, if I want to be a mentor.
A mentor challenges.
Without a challenge, people don’t get better, at anything.
If a singer/song writer only wrote and preformed one song, over and over again, never doing anything else, how would she improve musically? How would she hone her craft from tweenie pop melodies into musical masterpieces?
She needs to be stretched.
She needs an individual to tell her to try harder, to try something new.
She needs someone to push her to do a little bit more when she is tired and exhausted.
She needs to be challenged.
She needs a mentor.
A mentor questions.
Without questions being asked, how do we learn?
How will we dig deeper into truth and separate the lies if there are no questions?
If we are not confident of what we believe, we will fall for anything.
So question.
Not only do we need to be confident in questioning things, but we need to examine ourselves, our actions, our thoughts and behaviors.
Not everything we think, feel, believe or act upon is necessarily right.
Questions can help to weed out the lies and half truths.
Questions can lead to discovering real truth.
We need that.
We need someone to call us on our assumptions, to be looked at from new angles.
While this may sound like it’s challenging, it isn’t about doing more or doing things differently, but looking at the why to our actions and attitudes. Most times a mentor can help us do that.
A mentor advises.
Without wisdom, the people are scattered.
And how will we gain wisdom, unless there is someone there to give it?
Having a mentor, someone that is older than you in your life does benefit you.
Especially in this way.
Someone older has experienced more of life, seen things a younger person hasn’t and made mistakes that shouldn’t be repeated.
Rather than making thousands of mistakes yourself, or having to live multiple life times to learn so much, listen and heed the life giving wisdom of a mentor.
That is something mentors were created to do.
A mentor encourages.
Life tends to throw curve balls at us.
And a lot better than any baseball player, and much more often.
Sometimes encouragement to keep on going, to take that next step, is exactly what we need to hear.
That is what a mentor can do, and needs to do. Sometimes this encouragement is with words.
A “way to go,” “Nice job,” or a “Well done” is all we require to move forward.
Other times encouragement comes without words, just a little action.
Seeing that friendly face in a sea of people makes us feel far less alone.
A wink of approval, thumbs up, high five or an elbow nudge are all ways to connect and help us strive when we may not feel like it.
Whatever the method, a mentor is there to lift a person up, to keep striving, to continue on the path whenever things get tough.

So what do you think?

Are these the qualities of a mentor? What other qualities are important?
Let me know in the comments below. 

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