I am “for” mentoring through relationship. I qualified the mentoring with the phrase “through relationship” because I’ve seen a lot of people try to mentor without a relationship. This works — I just don’t think it works very well. 🙂 Without relationship — the mentor’s challenges will be ignored. Without relationship — corrections have no sting. Without relationship, there will be little to no transfer of “life knowledge.”
I tend to think of mentoring as allowing a mentee into your life; not just getting into theirs. I heard of one adult mentor who was meeting with his teenage mentee at his home when the mentor and his wife got into a fight. The mentee was going to leave to give them privacy, but the mentor (with the wife’s consent) encouraged his mentee to stay and observe how he and his wife worked out their problems. That’s mentoring through relationship and allowing the mentee into his life. That’s a mentoring relationship. Teaching is not effective mentoring, in my opinion.
Now you could easily pass this off as being something for only certain individuals. I think I can actually hear some of you thinking, “Eh, I’m not the ‘big brother’ type of person.” Phooey on that thought! (Yes, I did just say “phooey”). You are the best in the world at connecting with certain people. Maybe that’s children at your church’s sunday school. Maybe its your boss or co-worker. Our lives are surrounded by opportunities to mentor through relationship. It’s easy to be a teacher without relationship. It is very difficult to be an effective mentor without relationship. Read more about this in a previous post of mine where I described how mentoring through relationship is God’s plan for the Church. I am “for” mentoring through relationship.