So You Want to be a Mentor

Not long ago I had the pleasure of partaking in another outstanding and informative sermon from Pastor Scott Brown at the Colts Neck, NJ, Reformed Church. The concept of shared knowledge was at the heart of his message to our flock. One of the primary...


Not long ago I had the pleasure of partaking in another outstanding and informative sermon from Pastor Scott Brown at the Colts Neck, NJ, Reformed Church. The concept of shared knowledge was at the heart of his message to our flock. One of the primary aspects which I took away revolved around the fact that many times we run into situations we do not understand. They are new to us and we need someone to explain them to us.

We need help from others to find our way in the world and sometimes we fail to seek out the necessary help and advice. Many are the reasons why we fail to reach out to others for guidance. Sometimes we are too proud. At other times we are afraid to appear stupid. Whatever the reason, bad things can happen when we wander through the world in a state of ignorance.

As he often does, Scott got me thinking hard about what was going on in the world around me. I was scribbling thoughts into my little pocket notebook at a mile-a-minute rate. After the service, a member of the congregation came up to me after the service and asked about my note taking. Clark Petrie mentioned that he often saw me jotting notes in my book and wondered why.

We had an interesting discussion. I spoke of the fact that many of my commentary messages come to me when I am in the congregation at the Colts Neck church. Sometimes my commentary has a direct tie-in to one of the sermons. At other times, my mind just starts wandering all over creation when the spirit moves me. Clark in now a regular reader of my Firehouse.com works.

This visit with you today is actually the sum of several different sermons over the past couple of months. Three different sets of thoughts and notes brought me to the point where I felt I should cover the concept of mentoring with you. Far too many among us do not know what mentoring is and how important it can be to the future of our fire departments. Mentoring is a form of education and influence where the lived experiences of one person are shared with another. More than that, a mentoring relationship involves equal parts of sharing, teaching, and motivating.

2011 has been a year of firsts for me. Some have been extremely positive, while others have been as negative as any which ever happened to me in my 64 years of life. Missed and blown engagements were mixed in with some of the best new interactions and relationships I have experienced in the past two decades. In a couple of instances misplaced faith in certain people cost me dearly. Yes my friends, there were peaks and there were valleys. There was joy and there was embarrassment. There was my tuba vacation with the Windjammers and there were the summer concerts down at the Jersey Shore in Ocean Grove. What a mix of emotions and experiences.

The key here is that this jumble of conflicting experiences did not kill me. Like many of you I have often heard it said that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I am here to tell you that this seems about right to me as I move towards the coming New Year. 2011 has presented me with a number of challenges which have strengthened my resolve to become a better person.

It has long been my position that the future will happen regardless of how much you and I want things to remain the same. The living of life has taught me that one thing is abundantly clear about the future. The more you seek to interact with the future, the better will be your chance of having things go you way. There are no absolutes. Life will happen anyway, but you can take a hand in the ways things might turn out. In this way, you can possibly influence what will happen.

That having been said, let me point out that nothing is certain in life. We go to bed each night firmly believing that we will wake up in the morning. So far we have, however there are those who do not. What I am saying is that we take a lot for granted in life, and that regardless of what we do, something always happens.

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