“I could never be a mentor!” I’ve heard that excuse more times than I can count.  In fact, I’ve said the very same thing. “Me?  Mentor?  Are you kidding?!  What do I have to offer?”  And, so the lies permeate and kill opportunities standing right in front of you to invest into the lives of young men with great potential.  May I be as respectfully direct as I can? Stop being so self-centered! Unless you are a total imbecile, which I highly doubt, you have been through enough in life, that despite your own failures, or because of them, you are in a great position to speak into the lives of guys who are desperate for help.  

Being a mentor does not require special training.  It doesn’t require perfection, nor omniscience. Warriors are young men generally between 18-30 years old trying to figure life out.  There are six primary areas they deal with.

If you are honest with yourself, when you were a warrior, you faced the same issues.  Some of them you excelled at. Others, you bombed miserably. Regrets. Undone things.  Broken relationships. There are a host of things in life you expected to happen that never did.  As I like to say, “If I had the pen and could write the script of my life, there are things that would never be in there.  But they are.” You can choose to accept and learn from them, or bury the pains deep in your soul and live miserably,  

Pain does not disqualify you from mentoring.  It can be your greatest asset. There is a great quote from Paul in the Bible to his protege Timothy.  “And the things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  It’s what a man lives for that either leaves a legacy or ruins him.  We each have a story. Whether you are sold out to Jesus Christ or not, God is still orchestrating your life to ultimately find him.  Every experience, done to you, or you have chosen can be used by God to make you a man that has quality, solid, genuine wisdom to offer young men who are longing for some direction and hope.  

Mine is a story of an essentially mentor-less warrior stage of life.  That’s not to say I didn’t see significant successes. College degree, trip to Europe, my first job, becoming a licensed architect, buying my first house, international romance, proposal, and marriage.  All between 18-30 years old. Yet, during that same time, I faced a ton of uncertainty, insecurities, and brokenness. There were times confusion so engulfed my mind I was immobilized. Trapped. Abandoned.  Was there no one to give me perspective? To help me sort through matters of faith, relationships, self-management and the rest of those things on that list?

Maybe that’s why God’s given me a compassion, an ache in my soul for young guys who are derailed by life in the warrior stage.  Sometimes, it’s self-inflicted wounds that stop a guy in his tracks. At other times its situations that he didn’t ask for that have him stumped.  For others, it’s not that life is in the pits, but that he just needs course corrections that can reorient his trajectory to a far better place.  

To be a mentor means you are willing to go out of your way to spend time with a young man.  To get to know him. What makes him tick and what snags him up. To be transparent enough about your own life to help him mature.  To find himself. To find God. Life isn’t really found until one finds God.

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This website is dedicated to helping men who mentor warriors and warriors who need mentoring; to learn and grow as men.  One doesn’t stop their manhood journey once they hit 30. Manhood is a lifelong process that begins at birth and ends when you die.  You never stop and yet the most growth and pivotal season in a man’s life is his warrior stage.

Are you a mentor?  I hope you grow as one.  Not a mentor but want to be?  I hope you find answers and engage in the awesome and yet messy work of mentoring.  What legacy will you leave? To pour your life into those who will be the next generation of leaders.  It’s your choice. Welcome to the journey!

David Riffel

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of www.Mentoring-Warriors.com. Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.