Education/Career Life Skills Mentoring Helps Self-Management

6 Whats; 1 Who-Part 1

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MW Editor’s note: There are six aspects to your manhood and Jesus has something to say about all of them; all of you. In this post and next, we’ll explore those six aspects and what mentors can do to help a young man grow in his masculinity.

Healthy mentoring is all-encompassing, never narrow.  You can hone in on a specific issue, and should at times, but keeping mentoring on a one-issue focus creates imbalance in a man’s life.  If the young man you mentor is struggling with an addiction, addressing the addiction is important, but there is a larger view of his manhood that needs to be seen. It keeps the addiction from becoming all-consuming. 

That’s why we at Mentoring Warriors promote an organic, relational approach instead of a programmatic one.  Not that programs don’t have their place.  They can serve an invaluable purpose, but given the long-view of where God wants to take a man, life-on-life mentoring is the way to go. After all, that’s how Jesus did it, and we are all about following his way of life.

Whenever a conversation arises with a young man, we often talk about one or all of six different areas of life. They include six key areas of manhood.  We’ll look at three in this post and the other three next post.

Self-Management

Getting to work on time. Managing your budget. Figuring out how to spend the weekend. Washing your clothes and not living from the laundry basket. Wearing more than just basketball shorts. Getting a decent haircut that fits your style. Stocking your frig with more than beer and frozen burritos.

When I left home for university, I moved into a dorm room with a “potluck” roommate. Setting up my side of the room, figuring out how long it took to walk to classes on campus, doing my laundry, and making sure I was managing the $75/month I earned at the campus library.  Learning how to not spend an all-nighter in architecture studio. Those five years caused me to grow up quickly. 

When you boil it all down, moving into young adulthood has a lot to do with taking responsibility for the first time. A shift from a teenage boy to a man. It’s all about priorities.  How a guy manages his life speaks volumes about what’s truly important; what matters most.

Mentoring a young man in the area of self-management often includes rolling up your sleeves, and guiding him through time and financial management. Working on budgets to how prioritize things; and ultimately to become a healthy steward of God-given resources.

Life-Skills

A recently married young couple bought their first house. Walking through it with him, he admitted how both exciting and scary it was to now be a homeowner. How to change out the furnace filter. Setting up utilities, buying a lawnmower, adding a ceiling fan, and changing out some windows.

There are a lot of things we can hire out. Since my heart surgery, I’ve had to hire out mowing the yard and other strenuous chores around the house. Still, there are many things I can do. But, there is also the value of giving opportunity to a young man starting in his career or business. 

Working with your hands brings a sense of pride and accomplishment. Learning from a mentor who has years more experience can help a young man figure out skills he never had. Someday, in the future, whether with his son a friend, or a young man he now mentors, he can pass along life skills that he learned from you.  

Jesus talks alot about doing life together. Next time you need to change out your brakes, call up your warrior young man to join you. Recently, we remodeled our home. Most of the heavy lifting we hired out. The young man we hired did a great job, but there were a few things we decided to DIY. It provided a way for another young guy I mentor to come over and help paint a room and change out outlet cover plates. The cool thing was that it gave us several hours of great conversation.  

When you think of life skills, think of opportunities to mentor while you do a handyman job.  Jesus learned to be a carpenter/stone cutter by spending time with his father. 

Education-Career

The question often asked by a young man is “What am I going to be when I grow up?”  

Underneath that question is “How has God wired me?”  

Underneath that question is another one; “Where is God at work and how can I join him with the talents and abilities I have?”

When it comes to education and career, I’ll admit I’m a bit of an odd bird. I decided to become an architect during an eighth-grade shop class. One 9-week course on drafting convinced me!  There’s more to that story, but most guys have no idea what they want to do even after achieving higher levels of education.

My dad did two years of college, dropped out, and joined the Air Force. For the next nine years, he llearned telecommunication skills and saw the world!  In fact, I spent my early boyhood years growing up in Greece. After that, he worked as an office manager at a radiator shop owned by his uncle, fixing a few radiators on the side. He went back to college to finish his degree. After graduating from university at 38, he worked at the County treasurer’s office, and then, he was hired as an accountant at a local aircraft manufacturer where he spent the next 20 years.  Between that and running a private tax business, he also served 25 years in the Air Force Reserves.

Some guys focus on a vocation; career-long in one primary field. Others, like my dad, move from one station to another in life. 

As men, we often find our identity in our work. Work is good for a man. It tests us, stretches us, refines us. Jesus promotes work. He also wants us to do our work in ways that steward the portion of creation entrusted to us.

Luke entered college majoring in engineering. He hated math. Spent all-nighters on one problem. His poor grades were a huge sign he wasn’t in the right major. Countless lunches and coffee conversations helped him discover how he was truly wired.  Luke switched majors to graphic design. Today he’s a marketing director for a commercial real estate company and is the creator of the Mentoring Warriors logo.

As a mentor, have conversations with the young man you do life with. Talk beyond jobs and salaries. Talk about passions and dreams and how they fit within the greater call of God’s Kingdom.  

Sometimes engaging a career counselor or taking career aptitude tests helps unpack a young man’s future.

Next time we’ll look at the other three keys that a young man pursues.

In the meantime, our challenge is that you would rethink your view of mentoring putting into practice this holistic view.

If you are looking for a mentor, look for someone who holds to the larger view of your manhood journey.

Warrior On!

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.

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