Tag Archives: mentoring

train for the not yet crisis

In the middle of a crisis is when you realize that you can’t do everything yourself. In the middle of the crisis is when you understand how wonderful it would be to have someone who knew how to run this piece of equipment. In the middle of the crisis is when you wish you had someone who understood your heart.

Right now, you might be in a crisis. (I am sorry. Let me know if/how I can help.)

However, some of you are between crises, waiting for the not yet crisis to become one. Now is the time to have the wisdom that usually comes in the middle of the crisis, the wisdom that allows you to do something now that will help then.

While you are waiting for the not yet crisis, write some instructions. Explain one thing that you do. Describe one process. Document one set of passwords. (look at the comments from yesterday for help)

While you are waiting for the not yet crisis, show someone else where the shutoff button is, where the extra cords are, where that tool is stored. Even if you have to take a field trip in the middle of a conversation. Even if it is showing your kids where to turn off the water to the house.

While you are waiting for the not yet crisis, build or rebuild relationships.

While you are waiting for the not yet crisis, ask your child what they will do when–not if–they have an accident. And then listen to the answer and explain what to actually do. One simple first step.

While you are waiting for the not yet crisis, teach the values, practice the routines, create the habits.

While you are waiting for the not yet crisis, share your heart. Help the people around you understand the WHY of what you do, of what your organization or team or ministry is about. Show them pictures of the lives that are being transformed. Have them tell stories about the kid who is struggling with rejection and self-medication and explain what might cause it. Remind people that the tables that they set up allowed conversations that will change families and schools and the world.

Those guys in the picture?

They are Mike and Chris. They have spent time together in the not yet crisis. Their families spend time together. Mike drives a truck. Chris talks to him on the phone to keep him awake. Chris helps a company sort through incredibly difficult production deadlines. Mike keeps him focused on what matters.

They have trained each other and a bunch of other guys and now a new generation of guys in caring and living and how to deal with helping people in crisis.

The time they have invested in the times between, in the not yet crisis, helps them and their companies and our church and a bunch of people who have lives falling apart.

What are you waiting for? Go train someone. In something. Before you wish you had.


what more there is to learn

Do you ever write something to provoke thinking and then have someone say, “So, what about you? How are you doing that?”

Cheryl Smith just did that.

Recently I talked about the difference between accountability partners and mentors.

I wrote,

However, we need mentors as well. Call them teachers, rabbis, disciplers, guides, coaches, parents. They are people who know more than we do, at least about something. They may not touch what we are working on, but they give us someone to ask, “this part? This place? This way?”

I am concerned sometimes that in our desperation for equality and humility and teamwork and esteem for others,  we are unwilling to acknowledge that there are things that we actually do know better than others. This doesn’t make us better, or more worthy, it just means that we can’t be falsely modest.

What do you know better than others? Who looks up to you when they want to learn that? Are you willing to acknowledge that you know it better or do you say, “This? Anyone can do this.” Are you willing to watch people work, to share your knowledge without knowing everything? Are you willing to share the little piece that you know?

It sounds really noble, right? So Cheryl wrote and said,
Makes me wonder, are you still seeking mentors in your life or have you moved beyond that? And are you intentionally mentoring someone/others? I’d love to hear more about that in future posts.

I don’t think you ever move beyond mentors, though I haven’t always been humble enough to be mentored, to be willing to listen and learn and follow. I just went through a learning process myself.

Recently we watched a man from our church die. He had been in ministry for more than 60 years, longer than he had been married. He had been sick for a couple years. This summer he got very weak and was taken to the ER.  I went to visit and realized that after all these years of living and serving and teaching, Vern had one more lesson: teaching us how to die.

I thought he was going to die that day. Both he and his wife expressed a readiness. However, he didn’t. The next time I went up to visit, he was watching the Cubs. Then he moved from critical care to rehab. Then he moved from rehab to a nursing home.

All the while, he was visiting with friends, visiting with family.

A couple weeks ago I was standing in a cemetery, looking at grave markers, getting ready to shoot a video about making life matter. My phone rang. Someone needed to get to the hospital to visit with Vern and his wife.He had just been taken back to critical care.

“I’m dying” is what he said. “Do you want to go?” she said. “I kinda do,” he said.

And three days later, he did.

In the meantime, he visited more with family. He called friends to let them know, to say goodbye. He sang hymns. He wanted to be with Jesus. And then he fell asleep and didn’t wake up.

I’m not past needing mentors. I needed that lesson in dying. In fact, the Saturday after Vern’s funeral,  I ‘presided’ over my first funeral. I had learned something about what to say, about how to say it, about what families go through.

I’ll answer more of Cheryl’s questions during the next few weeks. She is pushing me to think.

But let me ask you the same question: “Are you seeking mentors in your life? For anything in particular?”

preach what you practice

The old scholar is near the end of his life. He has one last time, as far as he knows, to talk to his favorite student. It is, as far as we know, his last lecture.

They have spent much time together. They have spent much time apart. The teacher has done more than talk to his student. They have traveled together. He has put the student in several internships. He has left the student in charge of his own classes. The teacher has written to his student before, providing lecture notes and teaching strategies and personal advice.

And now, near the end, he is winding down his comments.

“You know all about my teaching,” he writes. And in that, he is consistent with what most of us would say. “Do what I’ve said.”

But he goes on.

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. (2 Timothy 3:10-11)

As a teacher, he was willing to point to his teaching. But he also pointed to how he lived, what he was about, what his character was like, what he went through. Paul, this teacher, was willing to open his whole life to this student, willing to be ruthlessly transparent.

He knew he wasn’t perfect. But that was part of the point. It wasn’t his perfection that he was arguing for anyway. His message was that God had worked in his life…and the only way he could make that claim is if he opened up his life. In fact, that’s the next phrase:

Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.

The challenge for me is simple: can I preach what I practice.  It’s easy to say almost anything. It’s easy to write, to tell, to say. And then try to get what I live in line with that.

But if I laid out what Paul does…say, live, believe, suffer. That’s a tough standard. But if you are talking about how to live, I guess it would be a fair test.

Time to think a bit more.