The Gift of Mentoring
Jul 16, 2010 by Donald J. Wold | 0 Comments
(Originally appeared in December 2006 Newsletter)
Gift-giving is on all our minds this time of year. I spend a lot of time puzzling over which gifts to give my family and friends. It can be challenging to find a gift that a loved one will enjoy because of both the gift itself and the love behind it.
This seasonal gift-giving mode is a prime time to reflect on the gift of mentoring. I'm not referring to mentoring as a "spiritual gift" in the biblical sense (that is another important topic), but to what we as mentors actually give to those whom we mentor. Yes, we give them our time. We give of our experience and (hopefully!) wisdom. We give a listening ear. Yet, each of those gifts can be given in a sort of "professional" manner. We can learn to give those gifts as mentors and still not give what matters most.
You can probably tell where I'm headed with this. Drawing on the model of the Incarnation, the greatest gift of a mentor is the gift of herself or himself. That's familiar and comfortable Christian language, yet it can be rather abstract. In this era of increased specialization and professionalization, we can learn certain skills that, though helpful, allow us to keep ourselves one step removed from others. So, what is really involved in giving ourselves as mentors?
Philippians 2 always drives us back to the theme of s