Even at age 53, I have very fond memories of a man who came into my life when I was in high school. His name was Frank, and he made SUCH a tremendous difference in my life—then, and in the coming decades.
One day after church, he and his wife happened to be sitting nearby. He introduced him and his wife to me, and invited my mom and out to lunch after church; so we went. That was the beginning of a relationship that lasted around 15 years. He was such a Godsend to me: I had lost my dad suddenly, to a heart attack, back when I was 11. Frank and I quickly became good friends, having a relationship that was kind of like uncle-nephew.
He had recently retired when we met, and I found out later he had invested his life, time and talents into many young men and teen boys. I have the utmost respect for that! He made such an impact in MY life, through his encouragement, counsel, and just being a listening ear. I had already started to have mental health issues (possibly due in part to losing dad early). Having an older man like this in my life, as I finished high school, started college, and after college, was just SO important.
Usually, we would simply meet for lunch (sometimes with his mentally disabled son), go to a movie, attend an airplane exhibition, things like that. But those simple doings led to a relationship where I could talk to him about anything I was facing in school, dating, etc. I still remember his advice, at times, these days.
Have you thought about being a mentor to a teenager, or young adult? Those especially from single-parent families (like me) can benefit! You can make a huge difference only investing one to five hours a week. Would you consider it, please? You'd be so surprised how you will be changed, too.
Keeping in mind that mine was a success story: because he was a good listener, he spent time with me, and most importantly he never took advantage of my vulnerability or made any inappropriate advances. It was always about me, and not him. However, we realize that not everyone has had the same experience with their mentor. And, it's not always easy to find a mentor--or to recover from a bad mentoring experience.
STAY TUNED: Part 2 of this series will focus on finding a good mentor."