This is sad! Why is the idea of mentorship coming in when there’s already a problem? Why didn’t you introduce mentorship to your child the moment he reached the age of understanding? Mentorship isn’t something you seek when there’s a problem, it’s something you seek when you need an early guide. Or better yet, it’s something that is provided when someone needs a guide.
Speaking of mentors, why did you have to wait till things became really bad? Why didn’t you mentor your child in the way that he should grow? Oh, I guess you’re not aware that the job of a parent is to mentor their children.
A mentor is someone who provides support, guidance, friendship, and respect to a child. Being a mentor is like being a coach of a sports team. A caring coach sees the strengths and weaknesses of each player and tries to build those strengths and abate those weaknesses. In practice, coaches stand back and watch the action, giving advice on what the players should do next, but knowing that the players make their own game-time decisions. Coaches honestly point out things that can be done better and praise things that are done well. Coaches listen to their players and earn players’ trust. They give their players a place to turn when things get tough. Mentors do the same things: develop a child’s strengths; share a child’s interests; offer advice and support; give praise; listen; be a friend. Mentors help kids to reach their full potential, which includes mistakes and tears, as well as successes and smiles. Mentors know that small failures often precede major successes; knowing this fact, they encourage kids to keep trying because those successes are right around the corner.
If you claim to be a parent and you’re not mentoring your kids as I’ve mentioned above, then you’re already a failing parents. You’d need to retrace your steps quick.
If you’re unable to mentor your children, ensure you direct them to a mentor you trust, and do that early. According to Bishop David Oyedepo, his first mentor was his grandmother. His mother certainly made a wise decision by sending him to his grandmother for mentorship early. Most 21st century parents do the same; if they feel that they’re not well-equipped to mentor their kids, they’d send them to their grandparents for mentorship.
There is no magic wand that turns parents into effective mentors, just spending time with your child helps you become a mentor. You can do ordinary things with your child, like going shopping together. You can also do special things with your child, like going to a zoo or a concert together. The important part is that you do things together, which includes communicating with one another. The more you communicate with each other, the more you reveal potential strenghts and weaknesses that should be invested in or tamed.
You may want to consider the following as you think about being a mentor:
1. Be honest about your own strengths and weaknesses.
If you know the answer to a question, say so; if you don’t, say so. To build a trusting, but real, relationship with your child, you only have to be human. All humans make mistakes; you have, and your child will too. Your child can benefit from hearing about your mistakes, including what you thought before you made them, how your thoughts changed after you made them, and how you changed your thoughts or behaviors to avoid them in the future. A child who thinks his or her parent is perfect builds expectations that parents can’t possibly live up to.
2. Respect your child’s thoughts and opinions without judging them.
Even if you don’t agree with your child, make it clear that you want to know what his or her thoughts are, without the threat of punishment. If your child is afraid of being punished, he or she may stop sharing things entirely. Let different points-of-view co-exist for a while; they will allow your child to think more about an issue. Remember that there is an important difference between, “I disagree with you,” and “You’re wrong.”
3. Support your child’s interests and strengths, but don’t force things.
Kids spend their childhood trying to figure out who they are, how the world works, and how they fit into that world. Make sure your child has enough room to explore. If your child has no interest in an activity or topic, don’t push. Your child will soon begin to dread the “forced activity” and will find ways to get out of doing it.
4. Introduce your child to things that you like to do.
This is a useful way for your child to learn more about you. It’s sometimes hard for kids to picture their parents doing things that other people do, like playing an instrument, volunteering at a nursing home, watching movies, playing a sport, or knowing about art. If your child sees you doing these things, you become more of a “regular person,” rather than “just a parent.”
Research has shown that kids who have mentors are less likely to take part in risky behaviors. Children who have mentors are 46 percent less likely to use illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to use alcohol, and 52 percent less likely to skip school than kids who don’t have mentors. Kids with mentors also report that they are more confident of their school performance, more likely to get along with others, and less likely to hit someone.
Your approval or disapproval teaches your child about desirable behaviors.
Parents need to be careful about how they express approval or disapproval. Parents who are harsh in their disapproval may hurt their children’s self-esteem; parents who never express disapproval may raise children who can’t deal with any criticism. Try to find a balance between expressions of approval and disapproval. Be consistent in your rewards and punishments.
Speaking of mentorship outside parenting, mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but he or she must have a certain area of expertise.
It would never come to a time when there’d be nothing to develop in your life, never, not in this technology age. If that’s the case, then it means you’d always need a mentor to pull you up the ladder of success. The reason why many people suffer torments is because they refuse the offer of a mentor.
To find a mentor, first discover which part of your life you desire to develop. Once you’ve found it, search for someone with a positive spirit, who is a genius in that area, and seek mentorship from him or her. Sometimes, these people may not be directly accessible, but if you can gain access to their books or teachings, it would make a lot of difference in your life.
While you work on creating a productive environment by associating with mentors and positive people, beware of negative influencers. In God’s perspective, negative influencers are not different from the spirit of fornication. A man who does not want to commit fornication should not be locked up in a room with a woman he’s attracted to. The only scriptural solution to prevent fornication is to flee, just as Joseph did. Likewise, when you see negative influencers, flee! It would be easier for them to influence you than it will be for you to influence them.
Do not keep a bad company hoping that you’d some day positively influence them. In most cases, they negatively influence you before you realize it. Lot chose to live in the wicked city of Sodom, and no matter how bad the conduct of the city became, Lot wouldn’t leave. In 2 Peter 2:7-8, the bible tells us that Lot was “oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men.” Even though Lot’s soul was tormented, he still wouldn’t leave. In the end, the angels had to drag him out of the city. As the fire began to come down, Lot’s wife looked back, presumably with longing, and was turned into a pillar of salt. Lot and his wife did not improve the morals of Sodom. Rather, they were corrupted by the citizens of Sodom.
In Deuteronomy 7:1-6, the bible tells us how God warned the Israelites not to associate with certain nations. The Israelites were commanded to destroy all the nations living in the land. The inhabitants had become detestable to God, and God was resolved to show them no mercy. Israel was not supposed to try to be more compassionate than God. They were not to intermarry with them because the Canaanite spouses would influence the Israelites to engage in idolatry. The Israelites would not influence the Canaanites to worship God. It would be the other way around. It’s far easier to be negatively influenced than to be positively influenced.
King Solomon is often remembered as a king who did not heed God’s warning about marrying foreign wives. In 1 Kings chapter 11 from verse 1, the bible says, “Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, ‘You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.’ Solomon held fast to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” Solomon did not influence his wives to worship the Lord. His wives influenced him to worship their false gods.
Ask yourself the following questions: When you are around a hot-tempered man, does it have a good effect on you or a bad one? When you are with a gossip, are you at times led into gossip yourself? When you are with a person who is always complaining, do you often join in the complaining? When you are around people who use profanity and tell dirty jokes, does it help your mind to dwell on what is lovely and honorable? Are you as offended by their foul speech the 20th time you hear it as you were the first time, or do you find yourself desensitized? If you are married to an unbeliever, has your marriage assisted you in your service to God or has it hindered you? Has it stimulated your spiritual growth or has it stunted it? Does your child elevate the morals of those at school or do the low morals of the children at school seem to have a negative influence on your child and the things you have tried to teach him or her? If you have passed through experiences like these without corruption, then praise be to God. However, it is possible that you are simply not aware of the regression.
I know I tried to deal with a number of issues in this question, but I hope this has brought enlightenment to someone.
Remain ever blessed, in Jesus precious name!