Who mentored you? Who are those people - coaches, grandparents, teachers, neighbors, pastors, strangers - who influenced the direction of your life, who helped you to be the best of who you are, who flamed that spirit that lives within you? Who did you find yourself keeping company with at those formative times of your life? What was it about them that captured your attention and respect? What do you remember of what they said or did that still lives in you today?
Since 2002 many communities have observed January as national mentoring month. January 22, 2010 is "Thank Your Mentor Day", which many mentoring programs select as a day of volunteer recognition. Perhaps you will take the opportunity to send those who mentored you a note of thanks, or give them a call to share a little bit about how they have contributed to your life and how their legacy lives on.
Perhaps you will spend a little time thinking about the ways in which you are a mentor to others. Of course many of you take this idea very seriously already. You have invested yourselves in intentional mentoring programs like Communities in Schools. You take time out of your schedule to spend time with others who need you - young children, nephews and nieces, youth in the church, other adults that look to you. Perhaps you will consider more deeply to whom you matter or have mattered. Who looks to you that you may not have seen? Do they have access to you? How do you help to create a mentoring environment in those places where you live and have leadership?
We at St. Andrew are going to take the opportunity to think a bit more about mentoring during the month of January. We're going to explore not only what it means to be a mentor, but what it looks like to be a mentoring community, the kind of gathering that serves the next generation.
Speaking to a group of church leaders, Sharon Daloz Parks, one of the Harvard faculty behind the Harvard Mentoring Project and now a fellow at the Whidbey Institute in Clinton, WA recently suggested this idea: If we are going to enter into the church as it is, a mentor will be of great value. But if we hope to enter into the church as it could be, a mentor will not be enough. A mentoring community will be necessary.
Who has been instrumental in your life and why? How did they inspire you and change or clarify the direction your life needed to go? What's next for you? What's next for St. Andrew as we live as a mentoring community?
Chuck Sigars is currently an elder at St. Andrew and a newspaper columnist and author.